Tisch, Table

Artist: Ulrich Ruckriem

Year: 2005
Material/Technique: Granite "Bleu de Vire", Normandy
Dimensions:  210 x 230 x 220cm

The Tisch (Table) is a gigantic, cubic granite monolith from Normandy (bleu de vire), that is divided into three equally thick horizontal layers according to precise arithmetic relations and reassembled on the Forum. The lower layer is sunk into the ground, covered with the pebbles. A cruciform opening has been cut out of the middle layer, so that the remaining stone appears to form four table-legs. The surface finishes are both visually and tactually discrete. In places, there are clear traces left by the tools, while other areas are finely polished or left in their natural state. 

Inspired by the traces of a Celtic settlement that have been discovered on this site, the sculpture recalls some ancient sacrificial or votive altar. Furthermore, the Table stands beside the old magnolia (known as the Bonus Tree), under which, in the 1950s and 1960s, the Sandoz company used to hold its springtime annual meetings and award its bonuses.


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.