Past exhibitions



The German sculptor Stephan Balkenhol (born in 1957), whose figurative sculptures have been present in public spaces around the world for over thirty years now, demonstrates to the beholder like hardly any other artist clearly and grippingly a reflection on the relationship of art and the self. Stephan Balkenhol’s wooden sculptures, with their powerful expression of an introverted and silently screaming desire to avoid engagement, virtually compel a dialogue with the surrounding space and the beholder. His wood works undoubtedly use a traditional cultural technique and take up historical visual traditions, but with their thematic vagueness they are clearly linked to the present.

Balkenhol’s wooden figures are never identical with the physical dimension of their beholders. As oversized or miniature figures, they underscore their hyperreal model character and with their narrative attributes, cultural-historical quotations, and subtly varied postures they allude to an inherent puzzling quality that they possess that vehemently contributes to the openness of the artwork desired by the artist and the freedom of its interpretation.

The structural characteristics of the raw piece of wood determine the course of Balkenhol’s creative process to a great degree. They animate the complete figure to the same extent as the artistic formation and the beholder’s perception. The important role Balkenhol attributes to the material can be read in the frequent use of the uncarved wood as a pedestal. The conserved shavings and splinters of wood that counter the smoothing coat of paint on Balkenhol’s colored sculptures and reliefs also communicate a surface materiality, lending the figures, like visual worlds that are dabbed impressionistically and fleetingly, an impression of vitality and suggesting a romantic sense of fateful human imperfection. Balkenhol does not hide the traces of his artistic work – they remain as key elements of composition and help in the thematic charging and release of his art.

It is left to the beholder whether or not to accept the offer proffered by Balkenhol’s sculptures and to entire into dialogue with them, realizing them through perception and bringing them to life to explore the secrets of one’s own existence. Whether as adaptations of human figures or in the form of architectural bodies, animals, or hybrids, Balkenhol’s worlds of motifs rich in facets present themselves as discerning filters of our memories, fantasies, and wishes.

With this first ever comprehensive solo exhibition of Stephan Balkenhol in Scandinavia Museum Jorn contributes to the German-Danish Year of Cultural Friendship 2020. The exhibition was implemented in close collaboration with Stephan Balkenhol and has its focus on the artist’s recent production. It features around 50 striking wood sculptures and reliefs, on loan from numerous prominent private and public European collections and the studio of the artist. Many of the works have never been shown in a museum context.

The exhibition is supported by
The German Embassy in Copenhagen
Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Knud Højgaards Fond
Goethe Institut


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