Up on high his figures stand on seemingly precarious footing. The Berlin based sculptor Hubertus von der Goltz has created a distinct contribution to contemporary sculpture with his silhouetted sculptures poised on pipes or rooftops. His installations are sculptural modifications of our everyday environement, leading viewers to new and surprising perspectives. The perception of a building, a wall or a corner in our familiar habitat (environment) has suddenly changed. In regard to volume Hubertus von der Goltz’ scenic transformations are modest. But the visual impression and its reverberations allow the sculptures to spontaneously commit themselves to our memory.
The outdoor sculptures correspond to the architectural proportions in which they are placed. Architecture is a partner in the aesthetic dialogue as well as the pedestal for the sculpture. The work relate to us, since they consider the human measure and show deference to the viewer or user. In an unexpected location a seemingly abstract installation reveals itself as a figurative scenario through the motion of the viewer around it. The thin walled silhouette reveals itself as a figure only from certain angles (of view).
Hubertus von der Goltz` indoor sculptures appeal to the viewer`s imagination. The play of light and shadow transports the miniature scenarios (settings) into a dimension of intangibility, adds an echo from the infinity of The shadow and reveals the methaphysical content of the small striding figures. Thus the compositions always also contain an air of contemplation. It is a quality of stillness as it can be found in Japanese gardens. In these existential significations we can find ourselves. We encounter a spiritual dimension in Hubertus von der Goltz` work.
His sculpture are eye catchers - work of art demanding immediate attention, strongly reverberating in memory. One of the reasons for this might be the allegorical significance of the sculptures, which is never subdued by the remarkable technical feats which each work`s installation demands. Hubertus von der Goltz` sculptures are allegories of life. They speak of the crossing of the abyss, the arrival on new shore. In a tentative search for equilibrium they evoke images of departure and arrivals.
Friedrich W. Kasten, 1995
Hubertus von der Goltz explores new sculptural territory addressing a shift of meaning from the iconic to the symbolic. His solutions are unconventional. His works in public spaces as well as his indoor pieces are highly abstract. Immediadetely his work appears playful, but the metaphors evoked are complex. The phenomenon of balance, of figures trversing high walls or narrow ridges, becomes symbolic of life itself. Hubertus von der Goltz unites distance and proximity, prose and lyricism, figure and abstrction to create a new aesthetic experience.
Friedrich W. Kasten, November 1999
Between Heaven and Earth
In the distance on a building high above, a man tries to maintain his balance along a narrow steel beam. Both him and the beam seem somewhat superfluous to the structure of the building. Why is he up there and what is he doing? Our pulse quickens in respond to the spectacle above, and gives us cause to question the man`s sanity. Hubertus von der Goltz’s two-dimensional silhouettes can only sustain this deception momentarily, however, and the drama of the situation finally gives way to reality.
Though the novelty of the moment might have been prolonged by a more realistic three-dimensional depiction of the human figure, the effect would have undermined the ability of von der Goltz`s figures to express other more potent aspects. He does not want us to be distracted by volume and colour, but rather to see his figures as signifiers, capable of generating meaning in different ways and on more profound levels.
Balance is at the core of Hubertus von der Goltz’s work. The subtly rendered gestures and postures of his figures are poised to reflect the allegorical possibilities which balance suggests. The rise and fall of mankind are contained in their lofty heights, precarious disposition, and enduring stance. His figures are powerful, concise symbols, epitomizing the trials and tribulations of human existence.
The buildings and landmarks upon which von der Goltz’s figures are installed function in an associative way through their direct connection to the figures themselves. This occurs because of the innate human qualities which pervade and epitomize our social and political structures. Judicial buildings and art museums have identities, but their nuances are hidden by the conventions of daily existence.With his figures mounted onto the tops of them, we feel the tensions and human behaviors embedded within these institutions more deeply. We see them as reflections or emblems of the constancy of our struggle, an open question to the concepts of conflict, reason, and change.
While Hubertus von der Goltz’s outdoor works focus on the interrelationship between man and his social institutions, his smaller indoor pieces are more effective at presenting us with an intimate linear event, documenting the past, present, and future of his figures as they proceed along their narrow walkways. Von der Goltz’s work gives us a sense of perspective concerning our particular place in time and how that moment may relate to the flux and change of future states of being. We may even identify the pattern of stress and flow within the path of the figures with a particular sequence of ups and downs we have experienced during our own lives.
Hubertus von der Goltz’s indoor work is often installed above doorways or hidden in corners, ceilings and other unusual areas. Gallery lights frequently generate soft shadows offering contrast to the harsher silhouettes. These shadows can also create new figures and pathways, suggesting an alternative, subconscious level of perception or reality. The idea of illusionary silhouettes and real shadows can alter our reference points, and create a rather ambiguous scenario, further confusing our spatial and intellectual perspective.
The interpretation of Hubertus von der Goltz’s work is often dependent on our particular mood and state of being. Within his installations, the universal and particular coexist and are available to be alternately interpreted at any moment. Their existential simplicity allows them to function as independent symbolic entities, capable of expressing both personal and social dilemmas, and serving as a reminder of the inescapable element of change, and the need for perseverance.
Ed Krantz, Galery Curator
Elgin Community College
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