Kleines Kopfrelief: Frau [Small Head Relief: Woman] (1995)
About this artwork
The woman on this carved wooden relief is both ordinary and anonymous. The figures Balkenhol depicts in his work are everyday, non-heroic types. He is influenced by Egyptian art: in particular the way it is able to convey universality and tranquillity, qualities he seeks in his own work. The marks of the sculptor's tools are clearly visible on the surface of the relief, reinforcing the presence of the sculptor and the rawness of the piece. Fashioned with admirable skill and simplicity, his sculptures are pieces of wood masquerading as people.
Balkenhol was born in Fritzlar, West Germany. His work lies in the long tradition of woodcarving in Germany - from the Gothic period to the Expressionist sculpture of artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Ernst Barlach. Balkenhol takes the human figure as his subject, although the abnormally normal, non-heroic types he portrays represent the polar opposite of expressionist angst. The rough surfaces of his sculptures, with chisel and axe marks clearly visible, mean that the viewer cannot forget that the figures are pieces of wood and emphasise that his works are sculptures as much as representations.