sculpture network is an international non-profit organization for the support and promotion of three-dimensional art. We think it is important that those art forms that offer something to experience and touch have their say; especially sculpture, as well as light art, installations, land art and many more. For 15 years, we have been networking with different components of this flourishing scene, from art lovers to artists, collectors, curators and students to museums, galleries, and service providers. They all meet virtually on our platform or personally at one of our events. With us, the whole world comes together in the name of sculpture!
sculpture network - a global family
sculpture network has now been around for 15 years. During this time, our network has grown steadily and we have become even closer together in this process. Our current ~1000 members are spread over 40 countries. Through our newsletter and social media channels, we are in contact with over 40,000* other friends and fans. No matter if we live in Iceland or Spain, we are connected through our love for three-dimensional art and have grown into a close community. Many connections have been made including friendships, co-operations, and business relationships. Collectors have found their favourite sculptures, artists have found their inspirations, and art lovers have turned a hobby into a passion. Many institutions of the art market (whether museum, gallery or foundry), profit from their cooperation with sculpture network. We differ from each other in many ways: our cultural backgrounds, our languages, our gender, our religions, our own biographies... but at the intersection of sculpture, we all come together. Through this medium we can communicate and speak a common language. We have recognized that this language is spoken by the most diverse people from all different fields, which is why sculpture network also brings people from various backgrounds together. We are not exclusively a platform for art professionals, but for everyone who relates to sculpture, whether professionally or in their free time.
*Status: May 2019
Why the focus on sculpture?
Today's art world focuses strongly on images: of course, that's also practical. A picture can be photographed, and a photograph can be printed, reproduced, and copied. Anyone can have the Mona Lisa hanging in their living room - at least as an art print. A painting or photo is flat and comparatively light; it can hang on the wall and requires little space. Sculpture, on the other hand, makes dirt and work – it's heavy, sometimes takes up a lot of space, and it is generally quite impractical. The training for sculptors is long and complex, and prospective sculpture artists must first try out a variety of materials – such as wood, marble, or bronze - before they choose their own direction. This is not only time-consuming, but also expensive. However, you can touch sculpture, experience it, and see it from different perspectives. Even if sculptures can be photographed, part of the experience inevitably falls by the wayside. The society of the digital age is obsessed with images that can be received anywhere and at any time, immediately. Sculpture, on the other hand, needs time because only by direct experience, through touch, can a sculpture to be fully grasped. That is what makes this sculptural art form so magical, and that is why we are all here.
Tony Cragg, Congregation, 1999. sculpture network International Forum 2012. Photo: Peter Fischer-Piel
Everyone is allowed to be with us!
The beauty of three-dimensional art is that it is universal: every culture has a sculptural tradition. Every person inevitably comes into contact with sculpture in public space - be it the Statue of Liberty or a performance in public space. Sculpture is therefore already inclusive of itself. We transfer this wonderful quality to our network: every member of our network can become a member, whether collector, student, artist or simply an art lover. At sculpture network, we are also firmly convinced that every artist has his or her own market. Quality discussions are held everywhere in the art business. We do not want to join them. It should not be us who evaluate art, but the public. So that this possibility can be offered, we make the platform available for artists to come to the public. Professional artists of all kinds and different quality levels are allowed to present themselves to us. We do not see this as an encumbrance, but as an opportunity. An opportunity for more diversity and openness in the art world, which is all too often crushed by conventions and subjective quality discussions. That's why we're 100% behind this unpopular position.
The personal contact: Irreplaceable!
sculpture network is also one of the big winners of digitization. Thanks to the possibilities offered by the Internet is our network and the close relationships around the world possible at all. However, just as you have to experience a sculpture yourself in order to learn to love it, you also must get to know a person yourself in order to build a relationship. That's why we make personal encounters possible through our events and thus help to create meaningful and lasting contacts. On our Dialogues members and interested people can take a look behind the scenes. Museums, service providers and galleries have the chance to present themselves to a special audience. At the Sculpture Network Lab, high-level discussion is held on topics concerning society and creative thinking. The International Forum brings together members, friends, and interested parties every two years over a long weekend for intensive encounters and discussions on a selected topic and an exciting program. Our art trips allow whole groups of sculpture network members and fans to grow together and lay the foundation for many a friendship. Our annual highlight: the International Celebration of Contemporary Sculpture, brings us closely together, as we celebrate together at the same time in many different places in the world - and are thus very close in spirit. In a number of countries, Coordinators represent sculpture network on site, providing advice and support to the members in the region, organizing events, and always the friendly face of sculpture network, representing our ideals and mission full of enthusiasm.
Exhibition European Sculpture 2010. Photo: Oskar Henn
Our digital offer
On our website, we offer a wide range of services related to sculpture. Exhibitions, fairs, biennials, workshops, and much more about three-dimensional art can be found under "What’s on". Artists and curators use our carefully researched opportunities page to find art competitions, public commissions, calls, artist in residences, and many other offers. Museums, galleries and public clients can advertise their own calls here, as well. Our online magazine is the info portal for three-dimensional art. Here, visitors can browse through weekly new articles, interviews, and essays, on the subject of sculpture, art, exhibitions, and living in the art world.
sculpture network was founded in 2004 by Ralf Kirberg and Hartmut Stielow. Originally, the association was planned as a European initiative of the US-American organisation International Sculpture Center, but soon developed a life of its own. The focus was on personal contacts and information about sculpture as an art form. From the very beginning, the association had also dedicated itself to international networking in the field of three-dimensional art. With first symposia, events, and member meetings in Berlin, The Hague, Zurich, and many other places in Europe, the first 500 members had already been won in 2008. Many sculpture network members have remained loyal to us since this initial stage. With them behind us, we have developed into a competence centre for three-dimensional art in Europe and beyond. Since 2017, we have intensified our efforts in the editorial area and inform our members, fans, and followers continuously about the news of the European and global sculpture scene.
omas Saraceno, Vanhaerents Art Collection (Bruxelles). sculpture network International Forum 2016. Photo: Christine Chilcott
For most of us here at sculpture network, three-dimensional art has a particularly deep emotional meaning. Beyond this emotional meaning, this art form has a further dimension. It can move in the social sphere, it can pick up and discuss current topics, and it can inspire reflection and action.
We would like to see a world in which three-dimensional art of all kinds are not a marginal phenomenon, but at the centre of a social discourse. That it can and may provoke discussions, changes of perspective, critical questions, and challenge our understanding of art, as well as our view of the world.
Enthusiasm and passion are our most important export goods in this mission. We want to provide an environment for new contacts and bring people together who might otherwise never meet. We want to bring people into contact with three-dimensional art who otherwise rarely have points of contact with this art form. And for those who have already fallen for it, we want to give 1,000 more reasons to love sculpture: through our articles, our events, and above all, through the members of our network. At sculpture network, everyone should get what they need. Artists may need support in presenting themselves, curators are looking for suitable artists, museums want to present themselves to an interested audience, and others simply want to immerse themselves in the art world and see where it takes them. We are working towards a future in which we can meet and unite all these different needs in order to make this very special art form big and strong.
A word of thanks
As a non-profit organization, we finance ourselves largely through membership fees and donations. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our members and donors, but also the many volunteers who support us every day: without you we would not be where we are today! We are overjoyed that, with your support, we can continue to inspire people all over the world with three-dimensional art. We are happy about everyone who wants to get involved - there are many possibilities.