Artist biography

German sculptor and draughtsman. He served as an apprentice stonemason and continued his technical training as a journeyman at the cathedral restoration workshop in Cologne. From 1963 to 1969 he worked in a studio in Schloss Nörvenich near Düren. During this period he carved portraits in stone and wood and also produced work for casting in bronze. In 1965–6 he produced a series of assembled open wooden constructions before turning to metal sculptures.

Rückriem changed his work radically after encountering Minimalism. He concentrated on principles of form, in each case cutting a block of stone (of irregular or geometrical shape) into regular sections and then reassembling it. His subsequent work was characterised by geometric forms and a rational and systematic concept of structure; his insistence on making intelligible all traces of his intervention with the material made him an important figure in establishing Process art as a response to Minimalism.

Rückriem sought to relate his sculptures to public spaces. His work and ideas on public art proved highly influential. In his sculpture in general, Rückriem continued to apply innovative techniques to questions of material, scale and proportion, using geometry and rational structuring in relation to natural forms as guiding principles. He also examined similar principles in drawings based on the ground plans of art galleries in the mid 1970s, and in 1978 he produced a series of works on paper, each entitled Drawing (e.g. Stuttgart, Staatsgal.), in which he treated simple geometrical forms similar to those employed in his sculpture.

Ulrich Rückriem: Skulpturen 1968–1973, intro. G. Ulbricht (Cologne, 1973)
Ulrich Rückriem: Skulpturen 1968–1976 (exh. cat., text R. Fuchs; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus., 1977)
Ulrich Rückriem: Venezia (exh. cat., text R. Fuchs and K. Gallwitz; Venice Biennale, 1978)
Ulrich Rückriem: New Works (exh. cat. by M. Goldwater, foreword D. Ryan; Fort Worth, TX, Fort Worth A. Mus., 1981)
Ulrich Rückriem: Sculptures (exh. cat., Paris, Pompidou, 1983)
Ulrich Rückriem: Skulpturen-Zeichnungen (exh. cat., Münster, Westfäl. Landesmus., 1985)
Ulrich Rückriem: Multiples und Druckgrafik, 1969–1985 (exh. cat., Freiburg im Breisgau, Kstver., 1986)
H. Kersting, ed.: Ulrich Rückriem: Texte (Mönchengladbach, 1987) [col. of ess. on Rückriem from 1964 to 1987]
F. Meschede: Der Stein drängt nach draussen (diss., Münster, Westfäl. Wilhelms-U., 1987)
J. Hohmeyer: Ulrich Rückriem (Munich, 1988) [incl. comprehensive bibliog.]


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