In Vielem und Einem


For more than ten years, Olaf Holzapfel has deepened and expanded his involvement with natural materials and spaces. In his works, light, color, actual and illusionistic pictorial spaces play a central role. The pictures seek to overcome the gap between depiction and what is depicted and to describe directly what they are. In this, they are mimetic, but nevertheless entirely nonobjective, and they open spaces that always start out from concrete material. It is always the natural material – whether straw, reeds, hay, pasture brush, or cactus fibers – that determines the parameters for his artistic work, whereby over the years it has become clear that Holzapfel’s absolute respect for the materials’ inherent preconditions permits an astonishing diversity and spectrum of variations of expression.

In various parts of the world, the artist’s interest in the relationship between rural spaces and urban concentrations, between the supposed periphery and the centers, led to a wide fan of pictorial works and objects, but whose central aims clearly cohere. A hay picture created with people from the Lusatia region, a picture made of Brandenburg straw, or a picture created from cactus fibers by northern Argentinian weavers are initially diverse things, but in a broader sense, all of them delve into the question of the possibilities of a valid abstraction of and at the same time actualization of the relationship between material and landscape. Holzapfel explores this thematic field through recourse to traditional handicraft techniques, but without nostalgic dressing up and at the height of current theoretical discourse; his work thereby proves its relevance, also concerning the social and ecological dimension of the question of the role and significance of rural spaces in our immediate life reality. The complexity and timeless beauty of Holzapfel’s pictorial works and sculptures often astonishes us viewers, testifying to his rank as one of the rare contemporary artists who know how to convincingly connect the form and content of their work.