Freedom in space
Ulrich Schweiger was born in Munich in 1970. After 5 semesters of studying philosophy and completing his training as a wood sculptor in 1996, he has been a full-time freelance artist. For him, sculpture is an expression of dynamism and movement - his materials are paper and iron; they enable his sculptures to be spontaneous and light-hearted. This way of working has earned him, among other things, the cultural award of the district of Starnberg and the Günther-Klinge-Kulturpreis of the municipality of Gauting. What is his inspiration? We asked.
You were a student of the sculptor Helmut Ammann. In his artistic work he was very much influenced by his birthplace in China but at the same time by his Protestant faith. What influences you?
I came into contact with Helmut at about the same time as I was training as a wood sculptor. He is a distant relative of mine and his girlfriend accidentally took me hitchhiking at the time. This is how our first contact came about. We then worked very closely together, and so I was very close to his creative process. I absorbed his spatial language and dealt with it intuitively. I'm sure some of it ended up with me, even though he wasn't a teacher in the classical sense for me now. I simply saw and learned a lot there about the work of a sculpture artist.
His art is not very far away from what I am doing now. I also focus on the human being. For me, my figures symbolize free people, without any ideologies or hierarchies. The human being, quite simply as an inhabitant of the earth, who should not lose his self and humour in living together in society.
I find it interesting that you approach this work with different styles and techniques. You have created sculptures from wood, bronze and iron.
There is the full volume, the surface and the line. In different materials I have tried out different implementations and possibilities. In the end, these sculptural experiences were connected with the drawing. I have always drawn a lot and started nude drawing early. To place the drawing as a body in space is the technical realization of my artistic intentions: I am interested in lightness and movement, in the representation and in creation. I start from the planar section of my figure as the basis and then have maximum freedom when designing the round plastic paper model. The subsequent execution in iron gives the lightness the necessary stability. So it is the combination of light and spontaneous work with what later stands robustly in the room.
How did you discover this way of working?
I am glad that over the years I have found out how I can best express my joy in intuitive and lively expression. This went from wood, clay, plaster, wax, bronze and various plastics to iron. The work with it is heavy and rough, but the material is good-natured and ultimately behaves like paper.
Lacquer, copyright: Ulrich Schweiger
For you, drawing and sculpture are inseparable.
The drawing is usually perceived in the form of lines. But it is not only flat, it alludes to the plastic. For me it is the starting point for the further steps of forming into the third dimension.
The three-dimensionality then gives the viewer the spatial experience with the art, which cannot take place in drawing in this way. Apropos spatial - how does your home Gauting near Lake Starnberg affect your art and your artistic work?
It is a very beautiful area where I live with my family and have my network of artists. For almost 20 years I have been working in my workshop in the rice mill in Gauting: directly on the fields, the forest and the Würm. However, I am always drawn to the sea. The wide sky and the water edge do me good.
This year you are organizing a start'19 event in your studio. What awaits the visitors?
I have the idea that my visitors should form themselves into a sculpture, with the thought of a personal outlook for the year. I then make a Polaroid of it and the guests have made their own sculpture, which they can take with them.
start’19 - sculpt the world with us!
Bildhauerwerkstatt Ulrich Schweiger
Sonntag 27. Januar 2019
ab 11.00 Uhr
Like Ulrich Schweiger, we are already fully in start'19 fever! You too? On Sunday, 27 January, the 10th International Festival for Contemporary Sculpture starts. Celebrate three-dimensional art with us and over 5,000 other sculpture enthusiasts all over the world.
Artists, curators, galleries, art lovers, critics, collectors, architects and other experts have each come up with a unique programme on the subject of "Three-dimensional art and society" for you. At around 70 locations all over the world, special cultural events are waiting for you - certainly close to you!
Click here for more information and to find a start event near you!
Author: Christina Benesch
Christina Benesch works in the Munich sculpture network office and looks after the start'19 hosts after completing her master's degree in "Doing Culture" in the summer.