Cat. Deichtorhallen Hamburg
Exhibition catalogue, edited by Robert Fleck
texts (English) by Robert Fleck, Laszlo Glozer, Thaddäus Hüppi, H.-J. Maaz, Thomas Macho, Christian Michelsen, Michaela Nolte, Dieter Wellershoff, Harald Welzer, Klaus Theweleit
192 p with 100 coloured illustrations
230 x 170 mm, halfcloth with title shield
Man with Candle
»I don’t want garrulous, highly expressive figures. Therefore I am on the lookout for a more open expression which permits every possible condition«. And that is why the human figure is presented to us in the work of Stephan Balkenhol in all its openness, devoid of gesture and narrative context. The figures seem unpretentious, unobtrusive and simultaneously timeless, they have been hewn out of the tree trunk with a chisel so that tool marks, cracks and various approaches to the material remain visible. The artist only uses paint in order to structure the sculpture, hence their dual appearance – both anonymous and yet individual at the same time; or as his friend Thaddäus Hüppi puts it: »To be honest, I wouldn’t mind having one of these quiet sentinels around me – that positive, life-affirming aura of the man in black trousers«.
For precisely this reason the most recent book, conceived by the artist to accompany his biggest solo exhibition to date, which is being held in the Hamburg Deichtorhallen, has turned into more of a reader. Stephan Balkenhol is interested in what those people see in his sculpture who use photographs of his works so enthusiastically to illustrate the covers and content of their novels, guidebooks or volumes of essays. On the other hand, he has compiled a series of widely varied contributions with a finely attuned sense for the different temperaments, opinions and topics. Each one in their own way reassumes Alberto Giacometti’s credo that Stephan Balkenhol also likes to quote: »A sculpture isn’t an object, it is a test, a question, an answer«.
Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, 14/11/08–01/02/09