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Stephan Balkenhol

(b. 1957)

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(1957– )

German sculptor, born in Fritzlar, Hesse. He began by making Pop art and assemblages, but for most of his career he has worked on figurative sculptures in painted wood, both free-standing and in relief. They are rough hewn: splinters and cracks remain visible as though the wood itself is a kind of analogy to the process of life. However, compared to the carvings of Neo-Expressionists like Baselitz, they are relatively naturalistic. There is sometimes an element of fantasy. In a carving of 1990 a man climbs the neck of a giraffe. When shown in a group, the sculptor's play with effects of scale becomes apparent. The full-length figures are interspersed with giant heads. Poses tend to be casual and relaxed in contrast to the usual conventions of statuary. Jeff Wall has described them as like convalescents, not yet quite ready to go out into the world.

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