After attending liberal arts high school in his city, in 1980 he moved to Stuttgart and enrolled at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste (State Fine Arts Academy); the following year he decided to also attend Art History classes at the Universität Stuttgart, the city's public university, where he graduated in 1985. Upon completing the academy in 1986, he was given the opportunity to organise his first solo exhibition as early as 1987 right in Stuttgart. If during his studies his research focused on an amplified notion of painting (he himself wrote, 'every painting is also an object'), this becomes evident from his works starting in the 1980s where he stands out from the more classic-academic experience: materials alternative to the canvas are chosen for surfaces to explore. In the late 1980s, some works are titled Relief, which perfectly describes his inclination for three-dimensionality in his new production. Between 1990 and 1992 he won three scholarships including a D.A.A.D. (German Academic Exchange Service) in New York, with which he could work on vaster projects and on large-sale pieces. His Faltungen (folds) can be dated to 1990, and are made in painted aluminium or steel, which rise up from the wall and physically conquer the space. In addition to this cycle, throughout the 1990s he opened and closed some series of sculptures like, for example, in 1992, the Islands, works in steel that could be described as solid sections on a folded plane. The colours used are almost exclusively primary—Mondrian's example is still quite alive and influential upon the artist, just as the American minimalists, such as Frank Stella, in addition to, obviously, Concrete Art. Wolfram Ullrich always specifies he studied 'painting' and not 'sculpture,' and, after his experience with the Islands, or other cycles like Window and Zone, his works once again occupy the space of the wall, though they definitively acquire body and weight. The material of choice is steel; the works, as the artist himself explains, are literally built by assembling different parts, a process unlike sculpture, where subtraction is key, and so materials like wood are not even conceivable. Beginning in 2000 he started working on single forms, closed polyhedrons where colour occupies only the top part whereas the side, the thickness, leaves the grey steel exposed. Subsequently, the number of these 'segments' increases, the perspectives are bolder, and in 2014 the 'Orbit' series is born. The colours are vibrant and the layering gives the works a soft, perfect texture. They stand out against the walls, fooling the eye and senses of viewers. Even today, the artist keeps experimenting, constantly taking his investigations one step further: from construction to perception. Wolfram Ullrich lives and works in Stuttgart.
Text courtesy Dep Art Gallery.
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