Stephan Balkenhol

Germany 1957


Stephan Balkenhol
Stephan Balkenhol
December 18, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Stephan Balkenhol is a German contemporary sculptor, best known for his representational works carved out of wood.

He was born in Fritzlar (Hesse) in Germany. He has been concentrating on the human figure for over two decades, began his sculptural process of figurative wood carving in the mid-eighties – as a response to the abstract, minimalist and conceptual approaches of the Hamburg School of Fine Arts where he studied from 1976 to 1982 under Ulrich Rückriem. His first figurative wooden sculptures from 1983 of a larger-than-life naked man and woman placed the human figure at the center of his work and reintroduced the figure to contemporary sculpture. In the 1990s he added animals and hybrids, and more recently architecture to his artistic vocabulary. His practice also comprises drawings and photographs.
The artist uses a hammer and chisel to gouge his figures out of the tree trunk, leaving the shavings and traces of the tools visible in the wood with its knots, grain and cracks. Balkenhol uses a variety of woods, including poplar and Douglas fir, and crafts his works out of single blocks of wood using hammers, power saws, and chisels. He then uses paint to structure the sculpture and accentuate the anatomy, in no way heightening the figure’s expressiveness.

Balkenhol has been representing contemporary figures, either as free-standing sculptures or reliefs in wood, of the everyday man or woman in order to strip them of any narrative content and onto which the viewer is able to project his own image.

In the mid-1980s, Balkenhol began taking on commissions for outdoor works, and, as part of a noteworthy display, he installed two of his sculptures on London’s River Thames by placing one on a buoy and another near Blackfriars Bridge. While some of Balkenhol’s early works were nudes, he began rendering them in plain clothing—most often white shirts and black pants or plain dresses—in order to avoid any unintended allegorical interpretations.

Balkenhol’s totem-like sculptures, which are reminiscent of Folk Art and recall medieval carving techniques, expand the traditional role of the statue by featuring everyday people rather than celebrated historical figures.The sculptures, often representing men, women, and animals, and featuring serene, expressionless faces, have been interpreted as an exploration of the relationship between the figures themselves and the spaces or locations they occupy.

Balkenhol currently lives and works in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Meisenthal, France.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2015Stephan BalkenholLandesgalerie am Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseum, LinzSolo
2015Collector's Room #8 Deweer Art Gallery, OtegemGroup
2015As high as the eye can seeFórum Eugénio de Almeida, ÉvoraGroup
2015Bäume in der zeitgenössischen KunstALTANA Kulturstiftung im Sinclair-Haus, Bad HomburgGroup
2014Stephan Balkenhol SoloGalerie Löhrl, MönchengladbachSolo
2014Stephan Balkenhol: One person ShowGalerie Forsblom, HelsinkiSolo
2014Stephan Balkenhol: Solo ExhibitKunstmuseum Ravensburg, RavensburgSolo
2014Stephan Balkenhol: Solo ShowDeweer Art Gallery, OtegemSolo
2014Stephan Balkenhol: One man showNosbaum&Reding, LuxembourgSolo
2014Collector's Room #7: 35th Anniversary EditionDeweer Art Gallery, OtegemGroup
2014Additionen der Gegenwart - Zeitgenössische Kunst aus der Sammlung Frank HenseKunstmuseum Bochum, BochumGroup
2014Cet obscur objet du désirMusée Gustave Courbet, OrnansGroup
2014Projects #5 Zeichnung 1970 - 2013Stampa, BaselGroup
2014Home (Very) Sweet HomeGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisGroup
2014Mensch werde wesentlich - gemalt ist der Mensch mehr MenschFreunde Aktueller Kunst,ZwickauGroup
2014BildnisseGalerie Peters-Barenbrock, AhrenshoopGroup
2014ALLE TIERE SIN GLEICHPforzheim Galerie, PforzheimGroup
2014Study From The Human BodyStephen Friedman Gallery, LondonGroup
2014Collector's Room #5Deweer Art Gallery, OtegemGroup
2013Stephan BalkenholMonica De Cardenas - Milano, MilanSolo
2013Stephan Balkenhol - ZeichnungenWetzlarer Kunstverein, WetzlarSolo
2013Stephan BalkenholStephen Friedman Gallery, LondonSolo
2013Stephan BalkenholJohnen Galerie, BerlinSolo
2013Stephan BalkenholMai 36 Galerie, Zurich Solo
2013Stephan BalkenholGalerie Rüdiger Schöttle, MunichSolo
2013UniverseGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgSolo
2013Stephan BalkenholJochen Hempel Leipzig, LeipzigSolo
2013The Carollers of KölbigkGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
2013Sein oder nicht sein - Das zeitgenössiche PorträtMunichmodern, MunichGroup
2013Vielfalt Statt Einfalt. 20 Jahre ArtothekStädtische Galerie Villa Zanders, Bergisch GladbachGroup
2013Sehnsucht Ich - Essl MuseumKunst der Gegenwart, KlosterneuburgGroup
2013Critique and Crises. Art in Europe Since 1945Kumu Art Museum, TallinnGroup
2013A collection shows its face - Stadtgalerie BambergVilla Dessauer, BambergGroup
2013Sobre Papel On PaperCentro de Artes Visuales Helga de Alvear, CáceresGroup
2013Momat CollectionNational Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (MOMAT), TokyoGroup
2013El Arte del Presente - Colección Helga de AlvearMecenazgo al Servicio del Arte -CentroCentro Cibeles , MadridGroup
2013Frauen Liebe und Leben - Sammlung Klöcker Lehmbruck Museum, DuisburgGroup
2013La magia está en la imagenWürth Museo La Rioja, AgoncilloGroup
2013The Desire for Freedom - Arte in Europa dal 1945Palazzo Reale, MilanGroup
2013Group Show - Menschen  Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney, NSWGroup
2013I Love You ... Me No MoreMUba Eugène Leroy, TourcoingGroup
2013Collector's Room #1Deweer Art Gallery, OtegemGroup
2013CollectionTomio Koyama Gallery, TokyoGroup
2012Lost (in La)Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG), Los Angeles, CAGroup
2012Winter Group ShowArt Forum Ute Barth, ZurichGroup
2012Die Sammlung #221er Haus, ViennaGroup
2012XXX. Europaratsausstellung - Verführung Freiheit. Kunst In Europa Seit 1945Deutsches Historisches Museum - DHM, BerlinGroup
2012Von Kopf bis Fuß - Porträts und Menschenbilder in der Sammlung WürthKunsthalle Würth,Schwäbisch HallGroup
2012Bis hier. 50 Jahre Kunstverein BochumKunstmuseum Bochum, BochumGroup
201250 Jahre Kunstverein BochumKunstverein Bochum, HattingenGroup
2012Re-opening: Chapter IDeweer Art Gallery, OtegemGroup
2012Highlights 2012John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2012Alice im Wunderland der KunstHamburger Kunsthalle, HamburgGroup
2012Win-win 1500 Jahre Unesco-sonderschutz…KUNSTHALLE am Hamburger Platz, BerlinGroup
2012Die Sammlung (The Collection)21er Haus, ViennaGroup
2012schwarzweiß Fischerplatz Galerie | BEGE Galerien, Ulm Group
2012SØR Rusche Sammlung: Eros & ThanatosWerkschauhalle, LeipzigGroup
2012Among othersGalerie Leu, MunichGroup
2012Cracked. White. Open.Jochen Hempel Berlin, BerlinGroup
2012GoldBelvedere, ViennaGroup
2012The Drawing RoomDeweer Art Gallery, OtegemGroup
2012Selected DrawingsGALERIE KLÜSER 2, MunichGroup
2012The Bear NecessitiesJohn Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2012Selected DrawingsGalerie Klüser, MunichGroup
2012Neuerwerbungen - Teil 1Museum Junge Kunst, FrankfurtGroup
2011Stephan Balkenhol - Art StatementsTokyo, Minato-ku TokyoSolo
2011Stephan BalkenholArt Statements Gallery, Hong KongSolo
2011Stephan Balkenhol - New WorksGalerie Akinci, AmsterdamSolo
2011Stephan BalkenholChâteau de Malbrouck , ManderenSolo
2011Stephan Balkenhol exhibitionTomio Koyama Gallery, KyotoSolo
2011Stephan BalkenholGalerie Rüdiger Schöttle, MunichSolo
2011Stephan Balkenhol - Druckgrafik und SkulpturStädtische Galerie Ostfildern, OstfildernSolo
2011Stephan BalkenholJohnen Galerie, BerlinSolo
2011Stephan BalkenholStephen Friedman Gallery, LondonSolo
2011Mémoires du futur - la collection OlbrichtLa Maison Rouge, ParisGroup
2011La Travesía De Una Colección. Los BragalesCentro de Arte Alcobendas (CAA), MadridGroup
2011Sehen ist DenkenKunstmuseum Solingen, SolingenGroup
2011Small Medium LargeDonjon de Vez, VezGroup
2011Jetzt Ins Von Der Heydt MuseumVon der Heydt Museum, WuppertalGroup
2011Kesä - SommarGalerie Forsblom, HelsinkiGroup
2011MMK 1991-2011: 20 Jahre GegenwartMuseum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), FrankfurtGroup
2011BLICKE und GESTEN - Porträts aus der Sammlung MJK - Malerei Grafik PlastikMuseum Junge Kunst, FrankfurtGroup
2011Melting PointGalerie Akinci, AmsterdamGroup
2011From different corners - paperworksarteversum,DusseldorfGroup
201130 Jahre Galerie Löhrl in MönchengladbachGalerie Löhrl, MönchengladbachGroup
2011Zettels TraumVon der Heydt Museum, WuppertalGroup
2011Group ShowGalerie Leu, MunichGroup
2011SurveyorAlbright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NYGroup
2011Art of the Loom - 32 Tapestries Woven on the Looms of Mark Deweer's Factory, Otegem, BelgiumDeweer Art Gallery, OtegemGroup
2011GeldReception, BerlinGroup
2010Stephan Balkenhol - New WorksLars Bohman Gallery, StockholmSolo
2010WHAT SURROUNDS ME Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney, NSW Group
2010Winter Group ShowArt Forum Ute Barth, ZurichGroup
2010Drawing SpaceGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgGroup
2010Körper CodesMuseum der Moderne, SalzburgGroup
2010Past Present FutureYapi Kredi Kazim Taskent Art Gallery, IstanbulGroup
2010La forêt de mon rêveGalerie d’art du Conseil général - Hôtel de Castillon, Aix-en-ProvenceGroup
2010Rugged BeautiesVerein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V.,BerlinGroup
2010Look Up! Natural Porto Art ShowPortoGroup
2010From & T(w)okunst Meran, MeranGroup
2010Häuser, GesichterGalerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst - GfZK, LeipzigGroup
2010The Secret Lives of TreesMonica De Cardenas, ZuozGroup
2010Lebenslust und TotentanzKunsthalle Krems, KremsGroup
2010Colección Los BragualesMuseo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Santander (MAS),SantanderGroup
2010Das Fundament in der KunstArp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, RemagenGroup
2010Director's ChoiceARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, IshojGroup
2010Group ShowLars Bohman Gallery, StockholmGroup
2010Parie-Karlsruhe-BerlinMusée Würth France, ErsteinGroup
2010The Wing in the Contemporary ArtGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgGroup
2010Konversationsstücke Akt lllJohnen Galerie, BerlinGroup
2010SOCKEL – das Fundament der KunstGerhard Marcks Haus, BremenGroup
2010Persona grata Gary Tatintsian Gallery Inc., Moscow Group
2010Group ExhibitionGary Tatintsian Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT... Die Sammlung 1900-2010Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, LinzGroup
2010Intimacy! Baden in der KunstKunstmuseum Ahlen, AhlenGroup
2010Stephan Balkenhol - Alberto Giacometti Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg Group
2010Le Meilleur des MondesMUDAM - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, LuxembourgGroup
2010AGENDA 2010 Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney, NSWGroup
2009STEPHAN BALKENHOL - GlücksachGalerie Rüdiger Schöttle, MunichSolo
2009Stephan BalkenholJochen Hempel Leipzig, Leipzig Solo
2009Stephan Balkenhol - Druckgrafik 1992-2008Kunstverein Augsburg e.V., AugsburgSolo
2009Wahlverwandtschaften IINeues Museum Weimar, WeimarGroup
2009The Core Marrow of ArtArt Statements Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2009Small is beautifulGalerie Margareta Friesen, DresdenGroup
2009GAGARIN The Artists in their Own WordsSMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, GhentGroup
2009Guardami Il volto e lo sguardo nell'arte 1969-2009Museo Cantonale d´Arte Lugano, LuganoGroup
200925 Jahre Fischerplatz GalerieFischerplatz Galerie | BEGE Galerien, Ulm Group
2009(Des)Accords CommunsFRAC - Haute-Normandie, Sotteville-lès-RouenGroup
2009PastPresentFutureBank Austria Kunstforum, ViennaGroup
2009Steppin' OutKunsthalle zu Kiel, KielGroup
2009On PaperMonica De Cardenas, ZuozGroup
2009Aus dem Stamm. Holzskulptur heuteStädtisches Kunstmuseum Singen, SingenGroup
2009Summer Group Show Jochen Hempel Leipzig, Leipzig Group
2009Sammlung ReloadedKunstmuseum Bonn, BonnGroup
2009Stephan Balkenhol & Evan PennyTrépanier Baer, Calgary, ABGroup
2009Estampes, Modernes Et ContemporainesGalerie Pierre-Alain Challier, ParisGroup
2009 LandscapeNosbaum&Reding, Luxembourg Group
2009Standpunkte II 1986 - 2006Kunstraum Potsdam, PotsdamGroup
2009SecuritiesDeweer Art Gallery, OtegemGroup
2009Una MiradaGalería Miguel Marcos, BarcelonaGroup
2008Stephan Balkenhol - Neue ArbeitenGalerie Löhrl, MönchengladbachSolo
2008Stephan BalkenholStephen Friedman Gallery, LondonSolo
2008Stephan Balkenhol - Neue AbreitenMai 36 Galerie, Zurich Solo
2008Stephan BalkenholGalleria Valentina Bonomo, RomeSolo
2008Salon IGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenGroup
2008REProduzentengalerie Hamburg, HamburgGroup
2008Ingráfica – First International Contemporary Art Print FestivalUCLM - Facultad de Bellas Artes de Cuenca, CuencaGroup
2008Listen Darling… The World is YoursEllipse Foundation, AlcoitãoGroup
2008MovingAura Gallery, ShanghaiGroup
2008UpdateDeweer Art Gallery, OtegemGroup
2008XIII Biennale Internazionale di Scultura di CarraraBiennale di Sculture di Carrara, CarraraGroup
2008Xviii Biennale Internazionale di SculturaAccademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, CarraraGroup
2008Totale WeiblichkeitGalerie Henrik Springmann, DusseldorfGroup
2008Otto L. Schaap - Content Art ConsumerStedelijk Museum Schiedam, SchiedamGroup
2008New SculpturesGalerie Forsblom, HelsinkiGroup
2008Présentation d'oeuvres de la collectionFRAC - Franche-Comté, BesançonGroup
2008Pasións Privadas, Visións PúblicasMARCO Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, VigoGroup
2008Showroom (Rämistrasse 35) Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich Group
2008MMKK LänderspielMMKK - Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten, KlagenfurtGroup
2008Comme des bêtes. Ours, chat, cochon & CieMusée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, LausanneGroup
2008happy togetherAura Gallery, ShanghaiGroup
2008Group ShowArt Statements Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2008Paintings, Drawings, and SculptureJohn Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2008For the Spirit - From the UBS Art CollectionMori Art Museum, TokyoGroup
2008PeopleJim Kempner Fine Art, New York City, NYGroup
2008Berlin goes Sydney Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney, NSWGroup
2007Stephan Balkenhol - New WorksDeweer Art Gallery, OtegemSolo
2007Stephan BalkenholTomio Koyama Gallery, TokyoSolo
2007Stephan Balkenhol - Art StatementsTokyo, Minato-ku TokyoSolo
2007Stephan Balkenhol - New WorkArt Statements Gallery, Hong KongSolo
2007UMRAUM | Stephan Balkenhol | Architektur und ObjektWenzel-Hablik-Museum, ItzehoeSolo
2007Stefan BalkenholGalerie Forsblom, HelsinkiSolo
2007Stephan BalkenholPAC - Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, MilanSolo
2007Balkenhole,Wiley, PieneAlon Segev Gallery, Tel AvivGroup
2007Im kleinen Format 2007, 08 Galerie Scheffel, Bad Homburg Group
2007DruckgraphikFischer Kunsthandel & Edition, BerlinGroup
2007Contemporary, Cool and CollectedMint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NCGroup
2007Liebe. Love. PaareMuseum im Kulturspeicher, WürzburgGroup
2007Six Feet Under: Autopsy of Our RelationsDeutsches Hygiene Museum, DresdenGroup
2007Stephan Balkenhol - Florian SüssmayrGalerie Rüdiger Schöttle, MunichGroup
2007Small Is BeautifulKraichtal-UnteröwisheimGroup
2007Figura Humana y AbstracciónWürth Museo La Rioja, AgoncilloGroup
2007New Works, New AcquisitionsJoão Ferreira Gallery, Cape TownGroup
2007Passion Complex - Selected Works from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art - Kanazawa, KanazawaGroup
2007Exposures, the contemporary self-portraitGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgGroup
2007See History 2007Kunsthalle zu Kiel, KielGroup
2007Who’s got the Big Picture?MuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, AntwerpGroup
200710. Triennale Kleinplastik - BodycheckTriennale Kleinplastik Fellbach, FellbachGroup
2007Human TerritoryRosón Arte Contemporáneo, PontevedraGroup
2007Sculpture Grande 07Gallery Art Factory, PragueGroup
2007DrawingsGALERIE KLÜSER 2, MunichGroup
2007DrawingsGalerie Klüser, MunichGroup
2007ResplandoresCAB Centro de Arte Caja Burgos, BurgosGroup
2007Blickachsen 6Galerie Scheffel, Bad Homburg Group
2007Body as SpectacleMMSU - Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, RijekaGroup
2007Rockers Island - Olbricht CollectionMuseum Folkwang Essen, EssenGroup
2007Die Kunst zu SammelnMuseum Kunstpalast, DusseldorfGroup
2007Einblicke - Privatsammlung PiepenbrockBerlinische Galerie, BerlinGroup
2007l’Emprise du Lieu, Expérience Pommery # 4Domaine Pommery, ReimsGroup
2007Passion for Art - 35 Jahre Essl MuseumEssl Museum - Kunst der Gegenwart, KlosterneuburgGroup
2007New DimensionsJohn Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2007Create Your Own Museum Gary Tatintsian Gallery Inc., Moscow Group
2007Collecting EditionsAura Gallery, ShanghaiGroup
2006Stephan Balkenhol - Holzskulpturen und Bilder - Kunstverein LippeLippische Gesellschaft für Kunst , DetmoldSolo
2006Stephan BalkenholMuseum der Moderne, SalzburgSolo
2006Stephan Balkenhol - New worksGalleri Bo Bjerggaard, CopenhagenSolo
2006Stephan BalkenholRegen Projects, Los Angeles, CASolo
2006Im kleinen Format 2006, 07 Galerie Scheffel, Bad Homburg Group
2006My World In Your EyesGallery Hyundai, SeoulGroup
2006Through the Rabbit Hole21c Museum, Louisville, KYGroup
2006Six Feet Under; Autopsie unseres Umgang mit TotenKunstmuseum Bern, BernGroup
2006Figur! Plastik des 20. JahrhundertsKunsthalle Jesuitenkirche, AschaffenburgGroup
2006SURreal - Aspekte des Figuralen aus der SammlungMuseum der Moderne, SalzburgGroup
2006Internazionale XII Biennale di Scultura di CarraraBiennale di Sculture di Carrara, CarraraGroup
2006Bucolica, the contemporary landscapeGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgGroup
2006EldoradoMUDAM - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, LuxembourgGroup
2006Stephan Balkenhol - Jan MertaGalerie Rüdiger Schöttle, MunichGroup
2006Vom Pferd erzählenKunsthalle Göppingen, GöppingenGroup
2006Ein gemeinsamer Ort. Skulpturen, Plastiken, ObjekteLentos Kunstmuseum Linz, LinzGroup
2006ZooCENTRALE for contemporary art, BrusselsGroup
2006Dialog SkulpturMuseum im Kulturspeicher, WürzburgGroup
2006Scultura e Pittura. Opere dalla collezione permanente del MartMART - Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, RoveretoGroup
2006Freundschaftsspiel - Skulptur06Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgGroup
2006Beaufort 02Beaufort Triennale, OostendeGroup
2006Der erste Blick; Die Sammlung GAGNeues Museum Weimar, WeimarGroup
2006Figures in the Field - Figurative Sculpture and Abstract Painting from Chicago CMuseum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago, ILGroup
2006Dialog SkulpturKunstverein Ludwigshafen, LudwigshafenGroup
2006AUTO-NOM-MOBILEKasseler Kunstverein, KasselGroup
2006LECKERBISSEN IIFischerplatz Galerie | BEGE Galerien, Ulm Group
2006Selected WorksJohn Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2005Stephan Balkenhol - the task of solitary manTel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel AvivSolo
2005Stephan Balkenhol, Mann schwarz-weißKunsthalle Göppingen, GöppingenSolo
2005Stephan BalkenholNMAO National Museum of Art Osaka, OsakaSolo
2005Stephan Balkenhol - New SculpturesGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, SalzburgSolo
2005Stephan Balkenhol Johnen & Schöttle, CologneSolo