The more concrete the better

These concrete artists examine the laws of visual art.

Perhaps it is because they work in three dimensions that sculptors seem to create more from a plan. A painter can express himself on the canvas with one gesture. Sculptors work with material that does not surrender at once.

Sawing, measuring, cutting, blowing 
The wood for Matthias Stuchtey’s installations must first be measured and sawn. The glass in the sculptures of Johannes von Stumm must be blown, the stone worked, the bronze cast. Nobert Klaus first has to cut the branches into shape. And precise measurements and cutting sessions precede the paper reliefs by Helga von Berg-Reese. Not so surprising, therefore, that these four artists work from a previously thought out concept.

Mathematical proportions
Sculptors Johannes von Stumm and Matthias Stuchtey work from the principle of the golden ratio. These are age-old mathematical relationships that provide balance and beauty in a work of art. For example, the second series Restbauten 35, 38 and 53 have been created in this way. With Johannes von Stumm this applies to the work Vollmond.

concrete kunstenaars

Vollmond (1-12) Johannes von Stumm, Vollmond (2017), glass, bronze, granite, 44 x 28 x 13 cm, € 7280

Constructivist examples
Both artists feel related to constructivist predecessors. The work Lack by Matthias von Stuchtey was exhibited in Berlin in honor of the centenary of Malevich’s Black square. The artist also refers to de Stijl as a source of inspiration. Johannes von Stumm based two sculptures on the work of the British painter Ben Nicholson: the works Quadrat und drei Kreise and Fenster.

concrete kunstenaars

Duo schwarz LIED 0146-12 (2012), branches, steel, paint and acrylic, 61 x 30 x 10 cm, €1.610,00

Objets trouvés
Research into higher ordering systems does not necessarily have to be done with expensive material. Matthias Stuchtey likes to work with building materials and cigar boxes, Helga von Berg-Reese finds her expression in cardboard, paper and printed matter and Norbert Klaus chooses what he finds in nature. In Duo schwarz he simply combines material such as branches (nature) with a reflective smooth surface (culture) in two squares of equal size.

Helga von Berg-Reese: Beige Weiß im Rechteck (2012), relief of white cardboard, 42 x 44 cm (framed), € 920

Work in series
Working in series seems to be a logical consequence of the conrete approach. Helga von Berg-Reese made a series of collages from a poster of the Venice Biennale. The work Beige Weiß im Rechteck is itself a repetition of 12 uniform white rectangles. Because of this minimalism, all attention goes to the formal aspects such as structure and light. The work evokes memories of Dutch zero artist Jan Schoonhoven.

Variations in a series can also be seen in the Havanna series by Matthias Stuchtey. The spatial objects are made of cigar boxes, of which New German Art has six in the collection. The works can be bought independently, but in series they only gain strength.

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