Our Personal Encounters with Female Three-Dimensional Art

It’s International Women’s Day! Fifty percent of the world’s population is shouting “Hurray!”. And the other fifty percent can join in the celebration, because we have compiled a series of statements about the most exciting female artists in today’s three-dimensional art world. Find out who our network’s favorite sculptresses are ...

Girl Power is not an unusual concept in the art world any more, that much is clear. For centuries, sculpture (as an art form that can require substantial physical strength) has been a rather male domain, at least in the eyes of the public. But today there is also a large number of female representatives who are equal in every way to their male colleagues in terms of originality, expertise and expressiveness. On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we asked our network who are their favorite female artists still active today. Interestingly, most of them do not appear in the official ranking of – apparently, taste cannot be determined by algorithms. That means these are real insider tips.

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Anne Berk, Coordinator for the Netherlands
One of my favorites is Berlinde de Bruyckere from Belgium. Her figures are born from compassion with the vulnerability and transience of human beings. Speaking of Dutch sculptresses, I admire Eylem Aladogan very much. She uses the beauty of different materials to symbolize a certain state of mind.

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Michael Zwingmann, Coordinator for Lower Saxony, Germany
Last year, my attention was particularly drawn to the Indian artist Bharti Kher during the exhibition Facing India in the art museum in Wolfsburg. Topics on her agenda are the role of women and the female body. She uses female symbolism (the typical Indian Bindis) and creates free-spirited, pictorial works. The lavish visual language she employs creates a position ripe with color and images.

Bharti KHER, Six women, 2013-2015 Plaster, wood Overall installation : 138 x 463 x 96 cm2/3
Photo: Claire Dorn. Courtesy: Perrotin


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Neus Bergua, Coordinator for Catalonia, Spain
My first choice would be Cado Manrique. Her works focus on very powerful geometric forms. I like her originality.

Cado Manrique: “La barca o l’instint de poder”


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Hartmut Stielow, Vice-Chairman of sculpture network
There are female artists whose work I really admire. These include Rebecca Horn, Isa Genzken, Rachel Whiteread, Brigitte Kowanz and Waltraud Cooper. All of them have invented and continue to develop their own unique language of art that is influencing the evolution of human culture.

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Ilaria Specos, Project Manager at the sculpture network office in Munich
Chiharu Shiota’s works are both haunting and beautiful, many of them have a positive message that encourages communication. That’s something we all need more of in our today’s society! I saw it 4 years ago, but I still can’t forget about her room installation The Key in the hand for the Venice Biennale 2015. It was so moving and inspiring. The Japan pavilion was a maze of more than 50,000 keys collected from people across the globe hanging from a cloud of tightly interwoven string.

Chiharu Shiota, „The Key in the Hand“. Japan pavilion. La Biennale di Venezia 2015



Elisabeth Pilhofer, editor of the sculpture network newsletter
Answering the question who my favorite three-dimensional female artists are, who are still active today, is not that easy. The first two artists who came to mind were Louise Bourgeois and Marina Abramović – unfortunately one of them has already passed away and the other is a performance artist. You could talk about whether performance counts as three-dimensional art or not ... But let’s not go there right now. So I decided to take a look at my bookshelf to see what exhibition catalogs I own. Buying a catalog from an exhibition was and still is something very special for me – since I tend to be a minimalist, I rarely buy new books. That means the works or the exhibition really had to sweep me off my feet in order for me to buy the catalog. I found the Australian artist Patricia Piccinini, born in Sierra Leone, and the German sculptress Christiane Möbus. Interestingly enough, one was born in Australia (my mother’s home country) and the other in Germany (my father’s home country).
In 2009 I visited an exhibition of Patricia Piccinini in Hobart and was moved to tears when I saw The Long Awaited for the first time. I was in Australia for the first time after the death of my grandmother. This hyper-realistic yet strange creature and the little boy reminded me very much of my own familiarity with my grandmother. I spent several hours in the museum looking at this work, drawing it repeatedly.
The name Christiane Möbus appeared on my radar for the first time during the preparation for my A-levels. I really got to know and appreciate her work later, at an exhibition in Magdeburg in 2012, which took place in a monastery that had been converted into a small, beautiful art museum: the Kunstmuseum Kloster unser lieben Frauen. The rooms, the works themselves, the texts and also the catalog were designed with just the right mixture of humor and poetry for my taste. The exhibition really touched me and left a lasting impression.
To cut a long story short: My favorite female artists, who are still active today, working three-dimensionally, as of February 27, 2019, are Christiane Möbus and Patricia Piccinini.


Patricia Piccinini, The Long Awaited, 2008 silicone, fibreglass, human hair, plywood, leather, clothing 152 x 80 x 92 cm high. Photographer: Graham Baring


And who is your favorite female artist? You can vote for your favorite here VOTE NOW!



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