Stephan Balkenhol

07.02.2020 – 22.05.2020

After more than thirty years of collaboration with Stephan Balkenhol, it is a great pleasure to presentthe artist’s twentieth exhibition at Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle.Stephan Balkenhol is best-known—aside from his bronze sculptures in public spaces around theworld—for his virtuosic wood sculptures worked from a single piece of wood. A chainsaw first givesthe trunk a rough outline, then chisel and mallet do the precision work carving out the figures. Finally,a carefully applied layer of paint breathes life into them. Try as you might to catch their glance, theyare floating on a different level. The delicately rendered facial features do not give any clues aboutthe figures’ rough beginnings. Only the base and the surfaces of individual body parts bear witness tothe energetic work process. It, in turn, was preceded by hand-drawn sketches of the subjects.Stephan Balkenhol is a gifted illustrator. Drawing is his language without words, telling many stories.First ideas are sketched out, contours determined, some parts detailed in watercolor. Portraits aremade with charcoal, the loose flow yielding images that also tend to look inward. No joy, no pain canbe extracted from these faces; they remain open to interpretation, and the viewer is cached bymaking a similarly expressionless, contemplative face.The human being is always at the center of Stephan Balkenhol’s work and is given a twist in hisfamous hybrid creatures—sculptures pointing to the animal in us: the Hare Man, the Ant Man, thePoodle Lady, the Rooster Man, the Lion Man, or the busy Mouse Man. There is no shortage ofsubject matter and enough humor in Stephan Balkenhol’s oeuvre. We look forward to presenting theartist’s new drawings, sculptures, and hybrid creatures.Stephan Balkenhol’s works have been shown around the globe in numerous international exhibitionsand are now part of many museum collections. 2020 will see solo presentations at Museum Jorn inSilkeborg, Denmark, and at Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, Germany

Stephan Balkenhol
Mouse Man, 2020
29,7 x 21 cm
watercolour on paper


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