Stephan Balkenhol’s (b. 1957) sculptures take command of their surroundings in a quiet yet forceful manner.
His pedestal-mounted human figures are monumental, yet their style of portrayal is archaic and unassuming. Despite their formal poses and expressionless faces, the figures convey a sense of intensity and a busy inner life. A perceptive observer of his surroundings, Balkenhol sculpts anonymous figures rather than recognizable personalities. Each sculpture is also a vicarious self-portrait.
Balkenhol carves his sculptures out of a single block of solid wood, usually soft poplar or Douglas fir, leaving his chisel marks visible on the rough, raw surface, the fissures and clefts accentuating humanity’s frailties and imperfections. The figures wear neutral, timless clothing that is painted in very simple yet effective color combinations.
Stephan Balkenhol ranks among the world’s most renowned contemporary sculptors. He studied at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts and has served as a professor at the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe since 1992. His work is found in many presitigous collections including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Staatliche Museen in Berlin, the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt and the Art Institute of Chicago in the USA. The artist divides his time between Karlsruhe, Kassel and Berlin in Germany and Meisenthal in France.