An art fair for the third dimension

The art KARLSRUHE took place from 21–24 February 2019 for the 16th time. In its four halls the fair welcomed artists and visitors from all over the world for four days, inviting them to lose themselves in art from this century and the previous century. Three-dimensional art traditionally plays a very important role at art KARLSRUHE. We took a look around.

“Kunst kotzt mich an” – “Art pisses me off” – is not exactly the most inviting greeting for an art fair. 

Norbert Neon, Kunst kotzt mich an
Norbert Neon, Kunst kotzt mich an 

Nonetheless, we encounter the phrase in Hall 1 in the form of a simple, large-format banner by the artist Norbert Neon. This provocative statement sets the tone for the entire fair: In two and three dimensions, at art KARLSRUHE we encounter social criticism, provocation, but also quieter tones – the aesthetic and the problematic come together, forming contrasts that make a visit to the fair a very special experience. 
art KARLSRUHE impressively manages the balancing act between visual art and sculpture; the two art forms are not banished into separate halls, but interact with each other everywhere. The long corridors through the gallery stalls open up into Sculpture Areas regularly. There large-format sculptures are displayed in plenty of space and are shown to their full advantage. There are a total of 20 of these Sculpture Areas at the fair, plus the sculpture garden, which invites visitors to stroll and linger on the green space between the halls in bright sunshine.  

Our member Bernd Reiter filled such a Sculpture Area. His installation (schein)heilig (unfortunately, the play on words is lost on our English readers – literally it translates as (appearance)holy and means: “sanctimonious” or hypocritical) is especially popular: Shortly after the start of the fair, the visitors gather there, sitting on the pews and chatting. “Damn good”, says one of them. On the whole viewers express amazement and dismay. Words such as “abuse”, “human garbage” and “cover-up” alternate on the screens with pictures of the church, statistics and newspaper articles. The subject of abuse in the church is omnipresent, but it is conveyed without emotion. The sobriety of the depiction almost makes what is depicted even worse. The pews set the context, the screens relentlessly show the horror of what happened without any further comment. We are directly confronted with it, forced to deal with it. (schein)heilig is certainly one of the sculptures at the fair that fascinates us the most and will surely continue to occupy the thoughts of one or two people for a while.

Bernd Reiter, (schein)heilig
Bernd Reiter, (schein)heilig


Angelika Summa, Atmen
Angelika Summa, Atmen

But there is not just space for monumental sculptures at art KARLSRUHE: More delicate objects also find the appropriate space here. For example, the meshed wire sculptures of our member Angelika Summa, whom we meet at her solo show at the stall of the Dr. Markus Döbele gallery. The delicate spheres and shapes also attract the enthusiasm of the audience. “Marlene Dietrich once said that she had been photographed to death,” Angelika tells us with a smile. We can hardly get a minute with her because she is so busy talking to interested visitors. “That certainly also applies to my sculptures at this fair!” Her series Atmen (“Breathe”) with its fine, almost biological structure, appeals to many on an emotional level. Even though sales are still slow on Saturday morning, Angelika already considers the fair to be a success. It’s the third time she’s been here and it certainly won’t be the last.

We stroll around the fair for a while: Lightness and mass, humor and drama alternate. While Ben Buechner’s cola can of paper butterflies hangs feather-light in its frame, Jordi Diez Fernandez’s steel Horizon Head is monumental and commanding. The phenomenal play of colors of sculptures such as Hanna Roeckle’s Blue 2015 and Copper 2016 alternate with more monochrome objects such as HA Schult’s apocalyptic Trash Man. Thus, the fair offers contrast and harmony at one event, granting viewers both conflict and pleasure.


Jörg Bach, Neuland
Jürgen Heinz, Two in one, 2015

Jürgen Heinz gets things moving: his One Artist Show at the stall of the Heidelberg gallery owner Petra Kern provides for some cries of wonder among the audience. What at first looks like a rigid steel column suddenly begins to move. Heinz's Moving Sculptures challenge the viewer intellectually and emotionally. We can hardly resist the urge to touch them - luckily we don't have to! The steel sculptor encourages us visitors to touch his works. Making the impossible possible with art, overcoming boundaries, initiating a change of perspective: These are the impulses transmitted to us when we interact with Moving Column or Runner. Like his works of art, Jürgen Heinz himself is constantly in motion. The enthusiastic Sculpture Networker has already been one of the hosts of start, the International Festival of Three-dimensional Art, three times. His many ideas always keep him on his toes.

Jürgen Heinz, Runner, 2019


Jörg Bach, Neuland


A special highlight at art KARLSRUHE is the presentation of the Loth Sculpture Prize, which, for the second time, honors the best Sculpture Area at art KARLSRUHE. This year the prestigious award went to gallery owner Werner Wohlhüter and artist Jörg Bach. With his massive metal sculpture Neuland (“Unknown Territory”) from 2017, Bach sends a strong signal that completely occupies the space with its volume and liveliness. However, not only this sculpture and the arrangement of smaller sculptures around it were honored, but also Werner Wohlhüter’s commitment to the art form of sculpture. His gallery has focused strongly on three-dimensional art since 1994.  

A large number of sculpture network artist members exhibited individual works at the fair, and the gallery at the Pinakothek der Moderne stood out with its large display in Hall 3. Vera Röhm’s Sculpture Area presented exciting objects made of wood and Plexiglas, which created very special effects in the sunlight entering through the huge windows. Our new member Heiner Thiel was represented at the stall of gallery Renate Bauer with one of his fascinating aluminum wall sculptures. Andreas Theurer’s Parallel Space made of cardboard and acrylic was a real eye-catcher at the edge of a Sculpture Area, because with every new look at the cube hanging on the wall, new facets could be discovered. Terence Carr, Riccarda Menger and Albrecht Zauner also presented their artistic work, so that sculpture network was represented by a strong group. We are greatly pleased by their success!  


Our conclusion: two thumbs up for the art KARLSRUHE, which manages to put three-dimensional art in the foreground without being a pure sculpture fair. Here, this art form truly gets the space it deserves and is put into the spot light for the public to notice. Many may come for the paintings, but they stay for sculpture. And there’s always room for aspiring new talents:

Felix, kein Titel
Felix, untiteled


Sophie Fendel

Autorin: Sophie Fendel

Our team member Sophie Fendel looked around for you on the art KARLSRUHE.




Cover picture: Felix Haspel, Hardly Passable

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