Figure on Display - Stefan Balkenhol/Jeff Wall
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The Art of Confrontation Stephan Balkenhol (b. Fritzlar, Germany, 1957; lives and works in Karlsruhe, Meisenthal/Lorraine, Kassel, and Berlin) is one of the most important German sculptors working today. He started making wood sculptures during his studies with Ulrich Rückriem at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg (HFBK). Working in the tradition of portrait sculpture, he creates effigies of anonymous and yet strangely familiar men and women. Numerous sculptures by Balkenhol are installed in prominent public settings in London, Paris, Hamburg, Berlin, and other cities. The Canadian artist Jeff Wall (b. Vancouver, BC, 1946; lives and works in Vancouver) is widely regarded as one of the world's leading contemporary photographers. He studied art history at the University of British Columbia and taught himself the technical aspects of photography. He rose to fame with large-format transparencies mounted on light boxes. What look like random incidents in his pictures are meticulously staged situations, often inspired by novels, paintings, or sculptures. Jeff Wall's work has been on display in numerous solo exhibitions at renowned institutions and featured at four documentas. The acquaintance between Jeff Wall and Stephan Balkenhol goes back to 1988, when Wall wrote an essay on Balkenhol's work, which he thought extraordinarily fascinating. Renate Goldmann, who directs the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum in Düren, Germany, brought the two together for an intense creative dialogue-Wall subsequently revised his art-historical reflections on Balkenhol-and a confrontation of their works in the exhibition "Figure on Display" as well as the present book. In addition to Wall's essay on Balkenhol and a contribution by Felix Krämer (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main), the volume includes a conversation between Jörg Johnen, whose galleries represents Wall and Balkenhol, and the two artists.
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