Building up the installation "Reservoire", 2011, scupture garden Katsdorf, Brunnhofer Gallery

More images: HERE

About the work

Thomas Kühnapfel has studied under Tony Cragg. Cragg, like Michael Sandle, Robert Ward or Richard Deacon, belongs to a generation of sculptors who master their profession as if it was second nature and with finesse: tu felix anglia. It appears to be one of Cragg’s virtues to convey the value of a material to his students: to develop a flair, sensitivity and instinct for a material, which make it possible to extract the impossible, the baffling, the unique – that which turns art into creation, making it distinctive and indispensable. But the emanations of teacher and student are quite different from each other. Those who have had the pleasure of visiting Cragg’s studio will have encountered a mixture of alchemist’s workshop and medieval builder’s shed, including the specialists and assistants involved in the execution of the work. The sculptures one leaves behind are so peculiar they could have grown on another planet.

Kühnapfel’s sculptures, on the other hand, seem curiously familiar. Even so, a strange feeling persists because, at first, one is unable to explain how they might have been made. They obviously appear to be handmade – which is confirmed by the welding seams – yet we know from our own experience that copper, steel and aluminium cannot be folded into shape, even less can they be stroked or punched – especially not in these dimension. And yet the sculptures appear so soft.They look as organic as if they were alive, as if they were breathing under the surface’s skin, rising and lowering themselves into a room, as if they could move around, take over – animal-like, fluctuating. Without a doubt, they are very present creatures. But reason tells us that metals can only be moulded when in liquid states of transition, or under enormous pressure. The latter is exactly what Kühnapfel is using as his design tool: water pressure, compressed air, vacuum – inserted through a nozzle (which are often still visible, resembling outsized balloon spouts) distended, perforated into negative forms, sucked back.

 Thomas Kühnapfel, Rising Sculpture, Video


"Big in Japan" (Music Tom Waits)