Lot 8
  • 8

Norbert Kricke

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  • Norbert Kricke
  • Raumplastik Große F.II
  • stainless steel
  • 956 by 493 by 356cm., 376½ by 194 by 140¼in.


Frankfurt, Städtische Galerie im Städeschen Kunstinstitut, Norbert Kricke, Raumplastiken und Zeichnungen, 1980-81, n.n, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
On long term loan to the Saarland Museum, Saarbrücken, 1995-2009


Ernst-Gerhard Güse, 'Norbert Kricke Große F.II, 1980' in:
Meisterwerke des 20. Jahrhunderts - Saarland Museum Saarbrücken, Ostfildern, 1999, p. 256, illustrated p. 257

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1980, Raumplastik Große F.II is a compelling example of Norbert Kricke’s visionary approach in which he harnesses the energy of the straight lines and clear horizontal and vertical angles of the sculpture. A self-supporting construct of stainless steel, the work marks a course across the ground whilst also rising to an impressive height. This emphasis on the rise reveals the power of the represented movement with beautiful simplicity. Throughout his œuvre, Kricke has engaged with one subject: the relationship between space and time. From his earliest sculptures of the 1950s Kricke’s focus remained the line; following a brief initial foray into figurative sculpture he quickly found his primary technical medium in pliable wire and steel.

His Raumplastiken series, to which the present work belongs, comprises metal lines which dynamically cut the space in an attempt to make the simultaneous experience of space and time visible in the artwork. Kricke’s leitmotif was that the experience of space offered by a sculpture represented a dimension of freedom: ‘My problem is not the mass, it is not the figure, it is space and it is movement – space and time. I do not want real space, not real movement (Mobile), I attempt to shape the unit of space and time in a form’ (quoted in Norbert Kricke (1955)), translated from the German). As a result his steel sculptures do not have mass or volume as such - they inform the viewer’s perception of space by bisecting it. Whilst Alexander Calder’s weightless, floating mobiles define space through movement and the creation of new spatial configurations over time, Kricke approaches the problem from a different perspective. His Raumplastiken do not move; they evoke a virtual movement in a potential space and their relationship with a spatial or temporal framework is entirely mediated by the experience of the viewer.

Born in 1922 in Düsseldorf, Kricke returned there following his studies at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin, becoming professor at its renowned Academy of Fine Arts in 1964. He was named director in 1972. Assertive and internationally focused, Kricke forged important relationships with artists such as Yves Klein, Nam June Paik and members of the ZERO group as well as writers and critics including Pierre Restany, John A. Thwaites, Carola Giedion-Welcker and Sigfried Giedion. He exhibited in Documenta II and III, the Venice Biennial XXXII and had a solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1961. Several of his ideas were developed in public spheres where they still can be found today, including the Mannesmannufer, in Düsseldorf, the Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.