Mat./Technique: Granite “Bianco Sardo", Sardinia
Ulrich Rückriem is a German sculptor noted for his monumental stone sculptures. He trained as a stonemason and began to work as a free-lance artist from 1963. His first exhibition with new stone sculptures took place in 1964 at the Galerie Konrad Fischer in Düsseldorf. Rückriem's work was much praised in the following years with important exhibitions, such as at the Haus Lange in Krefeld in 1970. Rückriem exhibited works at the documenta 5, 7, 8 and 9 in Kassel between 1972 and 1992 and at the Biennale di Venezia in 1978. He was a professor of sculpture at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg from 1974 to 1984. Ulrich Rückriem became professor of sculpture at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf in 1984 and then at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt am Main in 1988.
Strongly influenced by minimalism, Rückriem’s sculptural works celebrate geometric form, while retaining marks of the artist’s tools and the natural structural lines of the stone. Rückriem lived in Clonegal, Co. Clare, for thirteen years from 1988 to 2001. His work has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Museum Ludwig, Köln; the Sprengel Museum, Hanover, and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin.
Sieben Steine, Seven Stones
This artwork is composed by 7 raw blocks of stones of various sizes spread on the pavement of the Forum. It is inspired by the rough-hewn rocks arranged as miniature mountain landscapes in the Japanese Zen gardens. The stones are cut flat on the bottom so that they fit precisely on the slabs. Each stone presents a cross-cut incision that divides the rock into four equal parts, precisely in line with the joints of the paving slabs. These vertical cuts connect the seven stones to the pavement slabs, which came from the same Sardinian quarry.
This arrangement creates a distracting play with the slabs, breaking up their configuration on an optical level and animating the square. The view of the composition changes from different points of view, creating a bewildering interaction between the stones and the flat uniformity of the slabs.
Ultimately, 7 Stones represents the dynamic relationship between the individual and the serial, between nature and culture and human intervention, a theme that resonates the essence of a pharmaceutical company.