Ulrich Rückriem
Germany, 1938
Rückriem’s first sculptures are huge stone heads and articulated wooden structures in the style of Mark di Suvero. But the first work in which he defines his characteristic language is Teilung (1968), a rectangular block of granite carved in five pieces that is now in the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld. Regarded by some as a representative of European Minimalism because of his undoubted proximity to the ideas of Carl Andre and Richard Serra, to Sol LeWitt's desire for precision, or for the pleasure he takes in material, just as Robert Ryman does in his painting, in fact he is an aesthetically independent creator who should be linked to the Abstract and Constructivist tendencies that emerged after Brancusi. His stones recall prehistoric menhirs and therefore he gives the site enormous importance, as we can see from the monumental work he has done near Abiego (Huesca), with twenty stelae of Porriño pink granite. The verticality of the blocks of stone operates as a kind of ur-form, an element that reveals an almost unconscious power with connotations that bear on the sexual or the idea of statua virile. In these pieces, which he divides and then recomposes, he combines the refined and the primitive, geometry and chance, while always maintaining an extremely essentialist poetics. Rückriem, who enjoys looking at quarries, represents the ‘post-studio’ era to perfection, working in public spaces or creating places, such as an industrial building in Frankfurt or a house in Clonegal (Ireland), to house his work.
Fernando Castro Flórez