on sculpture

“What characterizes sculpture, in my opinion, is the way in which it renounces the full, solid form. Holes and perforations conduct like flashes of lightening into the material, which becomes organic and open, encircled from all sides, lit up in and through the hollows.”

Germaine Richier in: New images of man. Peter Selz. The Museum of Modern Art. Doubleday, Garden City, N.Y., 1959


"Yet artists began to insist through their sculpture and painting that they could veer away from a commitment to finish, and that through surface variation and roughness, as well as a lack of complete resolution in their compositions, they could reach other praiseworthy objectives, such as vivacity. It is essential to understand that artists who moved away from the ideal of "finish" had to expect both praise and criticism, often depending on the placement and context of their work. This was especially true in the sixteenth century but remained the subject of a great deal of discussion in the seventeenth century."

 Andrea Bayer  in: Renaissance views of the unfinished. In: Titian's hidden double portrait. Unveiled after 500 years. Hannibal Publishing, Italy, 2019

“My materials often dictate my change of aims, and I choose to work in a different material much as a man may suddenly feel an appetite for a change of diet. “

Ossip Zadkine in: The Work of Zadkine', (excerpt), Ionel Jianou, 1964

“I am the most curious of all to see what will be the next thing that I will do.”

Jacques Lipchitz cited in: Bertie Charles Forbes (1992) Forbes, Vol. 149, Nr. 5-9, p. 424

"Sculpture is an extremely important discipline because it is one of the few areas in which people create new forms. We can produce rationalised, industrialised forms quite well, but sculpture goes in the other direction: It aims to create something that is not necessarily useful, but reveals to us how many other possibilities the form holds."

Tony Cragg: Matter and Material. In: Dorotheum blog. Doris Krumpl, 24 october, 2021 

„Seeing the face leads the gaze into the material, and then you look at the other forms. And in that moment, when you enter into the forms again, away from the outline and the surface of the work, you step outside the normal axial view of the work and begin to experience sculptural form in an exceptional way.”
(cit. Tony Cragg, in: Jon Wood im Gespräch mit Tony Cragg, in: Exh. Cat. Neues Museum Nürnberg, Tony Cragg. familiae, 22 October 2005 – 15 January 2006, p. 10)

"The human face is as strange to me as a countenance, which, the more one looks at it, the more it closes itself off and escapes by the steps of unknown stairways."

Alberto Giacometti in: Face to face, Christian Alandete, Jo Widoff, Hirmer Publishers, Munich 2020.

„We know only what we do, what we make, what we construct; and all that we make, all that we construct, are realities. I call them images, not in Plato's sense (namely that they are only reflections of reality), but I hold that these images are the reality itself and that there is no reality beyond this reality except when in our creative process we change the images: then we have created new realities.“

Naum Gabo, 1950; as cited in: Eidos: a journal of painting, sculpture and design. Nr.1, p. 31 1936 - 1977

“The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.”
Alberto Giacometti: in: Bacon/Giacometti: A Dialogue. Michael Peppiatt, Eris Press, London, 2021

“If you really want to find the sources of my present style in antiquity, I must confess that you will find them in the remains of the life of the past rather than in those of its art. The fossilized corpses that have been unearthed in Pompeii have fascinated me far more than the Laocoon group in the Vatican.”
Marino Marini in: Dialogues on art, Edouard Rodity. Secker & Warburg, 1960.

"In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious."

C. G. Jung in: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Princeton University Press, 1990.

"Near and hard
to grasp, the god.
Yet where danger lies,
grows that which saves."

"Patmos" (1803), by
Friedrich Hölderlin (1770 - 1843)

“I'm sure it is time to turn our heads to mythology and not only to Greek. Mythology is a perfect mirror for humanity to look at itself. To recognize the origin of the depth of stupidity and obscurantism we can't get rid of for thousands of years.”

Oleg Ferstein: Instagram. Feedback on “Stages of Persephone”, 10. May 2022

"Nothing in art can be the best. It is only - different"

Arthur Rubinstein in: Piano performer Magazine, American council of Piano Performers, 2017/2018, Vol. VIII, Hollywood, Los Angeles

Jos Letschert 

"On sculpting"

"Sculpting and poetry are closely related artistic ways of expression. Both disciplines strive for the compaction of ideas, concepts, views, thoughts in a condensed form. In the end, the form is different, but the intentions are similar. The sculptor is a material poet, the poet is a sculptor with words. "


"My sculptures of faces are figurative translations of diverse and opposite concepts that influence or dominate our human coexistence, e.g.: trust -  distrust; affection - disaffection; love - hate; friendship - enmity; reliability - unreliability; involvement - disinterest; believe - disbelief.

"To come close to my visual intentions I have to leave the concreteness of representations to achieve a cohesive and conceptual expression of an idea."

"Much needs to be added, to make clear what I am leaving out"

"My sculpture is characterized by the conscious application of incompleteness "

"Change and doubt are permanent sculptor companions"

"My sculptural work is  inspired by Greek mythology. Myths are conceivable, often paradoxical representations of the unthinkable. They describe a supposed reality. Myths are about a continuous process of searching for an acceptable balance between reality and desire, between emotion and rationality, between transience and incorruption, even if this search is usually not based on logical arguments. However, the illogical is not necessarily unrealistic, certainly not in the imagination."

"Myths are the oldest traces of the human mind. Myths are stories of the past, but no less stories with clues for shaping a future. We are standing on shoulders of predecessors, high enough to be able to look far ahead to see opportunities and pitfalls. Development is not a continuous line from bad to better, it is about heritage and future, falling back and getting up, looking back to see ahead. Myths are timeless. What happened is still happening, what we once learned must be learned again, what we forgot must be laboriously regained, but also be seen in a different light."

"My sculpture is a search for balance between aesthetics and decay".

" Choosing the right time to stop working on a painting or a sculpture is not easy. Probably because there is no such moment. Usually you are too early, or too late. The first you can fix, the second is disastrous. I consider my work mostly as unfinished. Reflection time is of decisive importance. Through the distance of time you see what still has to happen. It's a repeating process for me."

"When something is finished, it has lost its future" 


"More important as tools such as chisel, hammer, saw or glue gun, are in my sculpture: doubt, consideration, hesitation, rearrangement, change, omission, reduction, wondering. I try to translate the abstraction of (mostly mythological) ideas and concepts into a tangible and recognizable form - allegorical sculpting - however, I also try to bring formal recognizability back again to the overarching concept - inversive, reversible sculpting -  permanently hesitating between the visible and the imaginable. "


"Mythology is a weave of spun storylines. Warp and weft demand a lot of our imagination. Orders and structures often do not follow the lines of logic with which we try to structure our thinking. Myths don't care about order. They care about basic concepts of being human, wrapped up in stories. In my sculptures, drawings and paintings, I try to emasculate stories in order to make essences of myths visible in a new structuring. Sometimes that works, but not always. Often myths remain elusive."

"My work is mainly figurative, but especially my mythologically oriented work actually depicts ancient concepts, presented in a narrative context. The visual output is essential and that's what matters to me. Nevertheless, there is a core idea that underlies what I am trying to express. In that sense, I  see my work mainly as conceptual art. When I'm working on it, who the hell cares?"

"My mythologically oriented sculpture and paintings are the results of a hermeneutic process: a quest to  an ontological understanding of  the often elusive ancient world of ideas, as basis for artistic imagination. In this sense it resembles (with humble apologies for the bold comparison) the task of Hermes, the messenger of the gods, obliging as a reliable mediator, but also creative and cunning enough to give an own twist to hermetic content. "