The sculptures emerge from my paintings

An interview with artist and start'19 host Stefan Szczesny.
One of Stefan Szczesny's sculptures in Saint-Tropez, copyright: Stefan Szczesny.
One of Stefan Szczesny's sculptures in Saint-Tropez,
copyright: Stefan Szczesny.

Savoir vivre or the art of living is something that European artist and sculpture network member Stefan Szczesny truly understands. He has resided in Saint Tropez on the French Riviera for many years now, where he enjoys the Mediterranean culture, the beautiful light and the positive attitude to their fullest. This is reflected in his life-affirming art in which his motto is: The more color the better. This blaze of color could also be seen in the castle courtyard of the Althoff Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. Here a selection of Szczesny's brand new colorful sculptures was on exhibit until January 28, 2018. In addition some of his original paintings and works on paper could also be seen.
sculpture network met with Stefan Szczesny and talked with him about the start of his career, his works and start'19, the International Celebration for Contemporary Sculpture.

In the 1980's you had already made a name for yourself internationally as a painter and as one of the founders of the "Neuen Wilden". What did this movement look like? 

We were a small group, mainly of German artists, who wanted to break away from the abstract, conceptional and minimal art which had become academic in those days. We started to incorporate figurative insinuations into our works, charging them with emotions, but the works still remained abstract. This form of expression had a lot of parallels to the pop music of the time. The music scene back then was also heavily influenced by emotions and was based on reality. After that I organized the well-known exhibit "Rundschau Deutschland". That was the first exhibit that I carried out in Munich and that was also the birth of the "Neuen Wilden".

Stefan Szczesny beim Arbeiten
Stefan Szczesny at work, copyright Stefan Szczesny.


Your career started with painting. How did you switch to three-dimensional art that is characterized by the "Neuen Wilden", just like your paintings?

After having concentrated on painting for a while I started picking elements out of my paintings. These selected elements in turn became sculptures. The sculptures come from the paintings, as it were. In addition to that I also occasionally made smaller ceramic works, for example a vase. These got bigger and bigger and became sculptures. In general my first figures were rather small - in the meantime they are sometimes larger than life. I have been very successful with my sculptures from the beginning. Since sculpture is associated with greater expenses and every movement costs a lot of money for the sculptor, three dimensional art only occupies a small share of the visual arts in comparison to painting.

Your newest works are the colored sculptures which could also be viewed in front of the castle Bensberg. What characterizes them?

My new sculptures are really very colorful. After I had constructed over 200 black shadow sculptures I was ready to adopt a new method. Since I had already worked intensively with color in my paintings, I also started using them in my sculptures. In the meantime there are almost 20 of these new colored sculptures. All of them portray women and are four meters tall with the base. The subject of women has been present in my work since very early on because women are my counterpart and for me they represent life.

Szczesnys Werke vor dem Schloss
Stefan Szczesnys Werke at castle Bensberg, copyright: Stefan Szczesny.


What made the exhibit in the Althoff Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg so special?

With 300 to 400 participants the vernissage on September 24, 2017 was a great success. The beautiful location resulted in an unbelievable interaction between the surroundings and my works. The landscape and the architecture had an incredible effect on the colorful sculptures which were located on the castle grounds. The view of the castle, as well as the view from the castle windows into the distance were simply breath-taking. 

The exhibit ended on January 28, 2018. On that day it was also possible to admire your works in your studio - namely during start´18, the International Celebration for Contemporary Sculpture, an event which you were hosting for the first time. How did you hear about start?

I saw the start event on the website and social media presence of sculpture network. I recently became a member and saw all their different activities. start looked like a very good opportunity to show my sculptures in their usual environment namely in my big and park-like garden around the studio. So this year I am participating again. I like that the guests can choose their preferred event for the day from a large global selection of programs. Plus, it is a good chance for the artists to present their works, to make new contacts and reactivate and strengthen old ones. 

start’19 - sculpt the world with us!

Stefan Szczesny´s showroom
Espace des Lices 9 Boulevard Louis Blanc
83990 Saint Tropez

Sunday, 27 January, 2019 

Click here for the programme

More about start'19 and the program of Stefan Szczesny and 73 other hosts in over 20 countries can be found here! Register for your favourite event near you and experience sculptures on site with like-minded people - on 27 January 2019!


Szczesnys Skulpturen in Saint-Tropez
Szczesny's sculptures in Saint-Tropez, copyright: Stefan Szczesny.


Author: Tabea Baumgartner

Tabea Baumgartner was responsible for the organization of sculpture network start’18. Since then she has developed an ever growing passion for three-dimensional art


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