About «Stephan Balkenhol »
Ordinary people, ordinary clothes, ordinary appearance, ordinary posture. No exceptional events, no special facial expressions, gestures, or poses... What is the particularity of Balkenhol's statues? Stephan Balkenhol, a German artist born in 1957, has been producing polychrome wooden sculptures since the 198Os - human or animal figures, sometimes hybrid, men and women of today in simple poses, standing statues or portrait busts. His choice of figurative work and his subjects and materials have given Balkenhol a place apart in the current art scene. By choosing to carve wood like an artisan and to bring forth realistic-looking figures, Balkenhol breaks with a certain tradition of abstract and minimal contemporary sculpture, exploring the possibilities of figuration and of representation of the human body. He also questions the relations between painting and sculpture, between sculpture and architecture. How can simple wooden figures, "transparent like images, " succeed in responding to contemporary problematics? This is what the four essays presented here attempt to define.