Stephan Balkenhol has studied at the Academy in Hamburg under Ulrich Rückriem. He is influenced by a long lineage of woodcut, in particular traditional Nordic techniques as well as German Expressionist methods. While Balkenhol’s choice of wood has varied, his treatment of the surface has remained raw and spontaneous throughout his career. This has allowed his work to remain simultaneously fragile, strong and elegant.
His sculptures often depict caricatures of the everyday, generic man, modest in garb but stoic in stance. His figures, carved from a single wood block and often incorporating a plinth, have a monumental quality. Balkenhol’s sculptures and reliefs can be seen as commemorations of the common man and his existence.
Balkenhol has placed permanently or temporarily many monumental works in the outdoor public spaces, amonst others in London, Frankfurt, Zurich, Amiens, Hamburg, Lissabon, Munich, Rotterdam and The Hague. His monumental work in the public space as well as his sculptures for the indoor space (museum or private collections) reveal his interest in fundamental aspects of the sculptural form and the material as well as his obsession with the human form stripped off by all narrative and allegorical attributes.
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