Kaspar-Thomas Lenk

Stratification 10a (Nosferatu)

1967

Not on display
Artist
Kaspar-Thomas Lenk born 1933
Original title
Schichtung 10a (Nosferatu)
Medium
Painted steel
Dimensions
Object: 1194 x 1168 x 356 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1968
Reference
T01034

Catalogue entry

Kaspar-Thomas Lenk born 1933

T01034 Stratification 10a (Nosferatu) 1967

Not inscribed
Painted steel, 47 x 46 x 14 (119.5 x 117 x 35.5)
Purchased from the artist through the Rowan Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1967
Exh: Kaspar-Thomas Lenk, Rowan Gallery, London, April-May 1967 (6) as 'Schichtung 10a (Nosferatu)'

The original model for this sculpture was made in 1964 and is now in the collection of Gerd Hatje in Stuttgart. Like most of Lenk's maquettes, it was made out of beer mats.

There exist the following large-scale variants developed from it, all of which differ widely in material, colour and size:

'Stratification 10', 1964-5
Exhibited at the 1967 Pittsburgh International, where it won a purchase award and was acquired for the Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute. It is in wood, 140 x 140 x 50cm, coloured black and silver, and has slightly fewer elements than 10a and the corners are cut to a smaller radius.

'Stratification 10a', 1967
The Tate Gallery.

'Stratification 10b', 1968
Coll. Giebel, Essen. Steel, 69 x 71 x 23cm, sprayed silver-bronze.

'Stratification 10c', 1974
Museum Folkwang, Essen. This is an exact replica in steel of the sculpture of monumental proportions exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1970. The Biennale sculpture, which was in wood, was destroyed in a storm. It measures 370 x 370 x 115cm and has a metallic (zinced) surface, apart from the two bottom plates which are painted red.

The artist added (letter of 13 November 1974) that the title Nosferatu derives from the film by Murnau, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, made in 1922. About ten of his works have this supplementary title. 'These are primarily works which develop sculpturally from an imaginary point outwards towards the observer, which so to speak glue themselves remorselessly to him, dog his footsteps.'

This can be compared with the observations on Nosferatu by Lotte H. Eisner in The Haunted Screen: Expressionism in the German Cinema and the Influence of Max Reinhardt (London 1969), p.102: 'Murnau created an atmosphere of horror by a forward movement of the actors towards the camera. The hideous form of the vampire approaches with exasperating slowness, moving from the extreme depth of one shot towards another in which he suddenly becomes enormous ...'

In an interview with Ed Sommer published in Art International, Lenk said of the layers of plates in his works: 'Viewed from the front, the layers suggest a compact mass, a mass that simulates a larger extension than it really, measurably, has. Only after changing one's observation point to the side, one notices that the construction is built up of flats ...' (Art International, XII/5, 15 May 1968, p.42).

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.423-4, reproduced p.423

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