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b. 1957, Germany

Stephan Balkenhol Biography

Stephan Balkenhol is known not only for his technical mastery of the woodcarving medium, but also for his exploration of the role of the figure in contemporary sculpture. Throughout his practice, Balkenhol has explored the concept of the figure, alluding to and drawing from art history to create his suite of characters, albeit each is stripped of any specific personality.

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Beginning in 1983 (his first year out of art school) Balkenhol's early work—female and male nudes affixed to pedestals—referenced classical Greek sculpture, with refined, geometric features and contrapposto stances. In the mid-1980s he began taking commissions for outdoor works; in 1992 he installed two of his sculptures on London's River Thames—one on a buoy and another near Blackfriars Bridge. He also has numerous installations in Germany, including in Kassel, in Leipzig, at the entrance of Tierpark Hagenbeck (Hamburg's Zoo) and at the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt. During the 1990s Balkenhol sculpted animals and hybrids as well. His practice also spans drawing and photography.

Balkenhol's sculpture is reminiscent of folk art, with totem-like caricatures of the everyday person. These caricatures are perhaps a commemoration of the common man and his existence in society. Balkenhol carves them out of a variety of woods, including poplar and Douglas fir. Working on single blocks with hammers, power saws and chisels, he leaves traces of the tool marks visible in the finished sculpture. He also leaves traces of the materiality of the wood itself visible in its knots, grain and cracks.

Balkenhol attended the Hamburg Hochschule für bildende Künste from 1976 to 1982, where he studied under the Minimalist artist, Ulrich Rückriem. He received two scholarships during this time, and then taught at his alma mater in 1988. A year later, he began teaching at Frankfurt's Städelschule, where he would continue teaching until 1991. Since 1992, he has taught at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe.

Balkenhol has had many international solo shows at institutions such as Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow (2015); Palais d'Iéna, Paris (2012); National Museum of Art, Osaka (2005); and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (1991). His sculptures are included in prominent international collections such as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec; Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC.

Jessica Douglas | Ocula | 2017

Stephan Balkenhol Featured Artworks

Frau mit pinken Haaren by Stephan Balkenhol contemporary artwork
Stephan BalkenholFrau mit pinken Haaren, 2019Wawa wood
168 x 24.7 x 29.5 cm
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Contact Gallery
Temple by Stephan Balkenhol contemporary artwork
Stephan BalkenholTemple, 2004Wood, pigment
200 x 198 x 3 cm
Gary Tatintsian Gallery Contact Gallery
Male Portrait by Stephan Balkenhol contemporary artwork
Stephan BalkenholMale Portrait, 2004Wood, acrylic
140 x 100 x 5 cm
Gary Tatintsian Gallery Contact Gallery
Mouse-Woman by Stephan Balkenhol contemporary artwork
Stephan BalkenholMouse-Woman, 2020Wawa wood
166 x 40 x 24 cm
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Contact Gallery
man with white shirt and black trousers by Stephan Balkenhol contemporary artwork
Stephan Balkenholman with white shirt and black trousers, 2020Wawa wood
200 x 40 x 29 cm
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Contact Gallery
Leopard by Stephan Balkenhol contemporary artwork
Stephan BalkenholLeopard, 2020Cedarwood
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Contact Gallery
Man with Blouson by Stephan Balkenhol contemporary artwork
Stephan BalkenholMan with Blouson, 2017Wawa wood
170 x 34 x 34 cm
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Contact Gallery

Stephan Balkenhol Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, (SELF) PORTRAITS at Parkett, Zurich
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22 February–30 September 2020 Group Exhibition (SELF) PORTRAITS Parkett, Zurich Exhibition SpaceZurich Exhibition Space
Contemporary art exhibition, Stephan Balkenhol, Stephan Balkenhol at Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich
Closed
7 February–30 April 2020 Stephan Balkenhol Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, MunichMunich

Stephan Balkenhol Represented By

Stephan Balkenhol In Ocula Magazine

Commentary and Process: SP-Arte 2018 Ocula Report Commentary and Process: SP-Arte 2018 By Camila Belchior, São Paulo

Throughout SP-Arte 2018, an expressive array of artwork communicated healthy questions surrounding art and its relation to the world—from within the problematic processes and systems that sustain it.

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Stephan Balkenhol In Related Press

10 Hong Kong Art Exhibitions To See In November 2019 Related Press 10 Hong Kong Art Exhibitions To See In November 2019 5 November 2019, Hong Kong Tatler

Sinuous sculptures crafted from steel, post-WWII abstract paintings and celebrity portraits by Annie Leibovitz are just a few of the highlights of this month's exhibitions

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