In a moving filmed portrait from 2013, Johannes von Stumm tells us why he wants to unite incompatible materials in his artworks.
Sculpting as a calling
He really tried not to be an artist, says artist Johannes von Stumm in a special mini-documentary by Neale James. But the calling was stronger than himself. The artist grew up in Munich from the age of sixteen. But a career as a painter or sculptor advised his teacher to sign off. “You end up just like me, in poverty,” he warned. The teenager from Munich studies Law and Political Science instead, but later returned to his first choice. The desire to make art was too strong.
Labor intensive method
‘Impossible’ does not seem to exist in the vocabulary of Johannes von Stumm. Glass and granite incompatible? Not in his world. He found a way to bring these materials together and used a method from the furniture industry. Glass blowing, stone carving, forging – Johannes von Stumm mastered these techniques at the highest level. As a result, his working method is labor-intensive: from idea to execution often takes more than a year.
More than thirty years after his choice, the sculptor is still astonished of what his work can accomplish. Of the fact that non-living materials can touch the human soul this deeply. Consistently and conscientiously he continues to work on his oeuvre, which earned him (international) recognition. For instance, for a number of years he was chairman of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
Not concerned about short-term success
The portrait, filmed in Von Stumm’s studio in Oxfordshire, was made with an equally great dedication. As with the work of the artist, special attention was paid to lighting. The sober way in which the story is told proves that the sculptor is not very concerned about short-term successes. The visual language that he strives for is universal and timeless. After all, he concludes, nobody can foresee what will be of value in a hundred years.
The work of Johannes von Stumm can be seen in the pop-up exhibition Exploring abstraction from September 13-23 at Korte Vijverberg 2 in The Hague.