In the 1980s, the artist Stephan Balkenhol succeeded in redefining figurative sculpture, which had been characterized by fragmentation and abstraction since the beginning of Modernism. Balkenhol's sculptures are characterized by the rough processing of the preferred material wood and the extensive reduction of gestures and facial expressions. Nevertheless or precisely because of this, his figures are able to impress in a special way through their immediacy and the intensity of their spatial presence.
The book focuses on works from the artist's most recent work phase. In doing so, diversity and new paths surprise in a work that one believes to know in its basic features. Installative work groups, in which sculptures are linked with wall works, as well as large-format reliefs, which arise from the reworking of photo motifs on wood, are shown as well as a series of sculptures with mythological backgrounds.
Art and cultural historical suggestions flow into the creation of the work as do everyday references to the present, so that Balkenhol's work can be read both as an individual and as a universal examination of existential questions and the essence of being human: "I am trying to create an image that stands for something fundamentally human." (Stephan Balkenhol)