Opening:28 Sep, 2017
Professional visitors:28 Sep, 2017
Opening to public:28 Sep, 2017
Stephan Balkenhol is characterized by his strive to reground figurative sculpture. His ability to
carve, alongside a constant investigation of the role of sculpture within the contemporary art
production, make him stand out from the prevailing tendencies. The artist uses soft wood, such
as Popler and Wawa, which can be seen in the reminiscent chisel marks, cracks or knots left as a
hint to his technique. Balkenhol uses for the most of his works a single block of wood,
polychromatic, delimiting the sculpture from its own pedestal, which is carved in a totem style.
His way of carving wood is, in a way, a continuation of the popular and medieval techniques.
The human figure is usually the driving force of his work. His characters are generally
anonymous men and women, with expressionless faces that are often depicted standing and
ordinarily dressed. Their postures, however, seem rather trivial and mysterious. The lack of
expression makes the game of interpretation quite difficult, but its presence hooks the viewer
to the gaze of these human sized figures. Elements that can be regarded as capricious, such as
the position of the hands or the inclination of the heads, become the hidden keys that reveal
the relationship between the figures, as well as tightening the link between the statues, the
viewer and the locations they occupy.
Balkenhol is able to strengthen his work with the viewer, who immerses himself In a deep
atmosphere of complicity. It is his link with what is contemporary that makes him differ
between sculptural scale, which he takes to be the ideal scale, and the human scale, considered
the mere standard. The artist says the following, as a way of inviting us to dechypher his secret
‘my sculptures do not narrate. There is something secret about them and It is not I who ought
to betray their secret’.