Exhibition | Heinz Breloh | Sculpture at Thomas Rehbein Galerie | Cologne | Art Week

Heinz Breloh

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Friday, 4 September 2020 to Saturday, 31 October 2020

“It fell into place that the sculptures had to arise from my movement. (…)
At first, the movements remained simple and elementary: grabbing and doing something very simple.” 

With these words, Cologne sculptor Heinz Breloh describes the origins of his sculptural, procedural work. At the same time, he thereby names one of his central artistic themes: action. To create his sculptures, the artist applies plaster, a handful at a time, layer by layer, until a basic shape can be guessed at. He steps back and examines, approves or disapproves. He applies new plaster or cuts it off elsewhere with an ax. He compares parts of his body with the resulting sculpture, takes himself as a measure. Soon the sculptor is no longer just basing his work on his body; he begins to press his own body into the plaster, dragging it through the material until the shape and surface of the sculpture have found their final shape.
This unusual work process marks a turning point in Breloh's work. Almost 25 years of artistic development had preceded this. After a conventional study of sculpture with Gustav Seitz at the “Hochschule für Bildenden Künste Hamburg” and the elaboration of geometric abstraction with Fritz Wotruba at the “Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien”, Breloh turned to the media of film and photography in the 1970s. He uses them to capture spatial situations and human figures and tests their reproduction in sculptural form. After a year-long stay at PS1 in New York, Breloh came to transfer these conceptual questions to another medium: He forms massive volumes of plaster, which he calls “Lebensgröße”. “You walk around the mass that is to be molded and that is your sculpture”, says Breloh, whose own body is a tool in the creation of “Lebensgröße”. 
The artist's body thus becomes the sculptures parameter: With his movements he defines its appearance, its expansion in space determines its limits, the sculpture remains as a negative space of a choreography. Its shape and the horizontal grinding marks on its surface testify that the artist's body is inscribed in the plaster. Breloh's profiles, visible at various points in the material, make the sculpture a trace of his presence in the creation process. They attest to an identity between the artistic act and the work, whereby the operating individual Heinz Breloh becomes, as it were, the subject of sculpture. The artist himself says about it: “The work is done when there is no more distance between the body and the sculpture.” The lack of distance to the material, experienced in its formation, becomes an existential experience of perception and expression for Breloh. The experiences gained during the processual work - physical and intellectual, sensual and spiritual have an impact on his subsequent works. 
The reflection of his action in plaster remains an essential part of Breloh's work until his death in 2001.

(Malte Guttek, 2020)

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Aachener Str. 5

50674 Köln

Germany

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