157 x 68 x 57 cm
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
Doppelseitiges Relief [Double-sided relief]
The career of Katharina Sallenbach (born 1920 in Zurich, Switzerland, died 2013 in Zollikon, Switzerland) spanned seven decades. The roughly dozen works in the collection of the Museum Haus Konstruktiv offer a broad insight into her oeuvre, which includes works in stone, metal, and terracotta as well as works on paper. The oldest artworks in the collection are from the late 1950s, after the artist discovered abstraction. Prior to this, she studied painting at the Académie Ranson in Paris before deciding to pursue a career in sculpture instead. She began creating works that were characterized by the neo-classical concept of humans that was dominant at the time. She was encouraged in her endeavors by her short but intensive time in the studio of Germaine Richier in Zurich. This new direction inspired by the Zurich Concretists culminated in 1956, when she threw away most of her older works. From this time forward until late in her career, Sallenbach’s work was characterized by cubes and spheres as well as other stereometric shapes. At first compact, these shapes later became more and more open. Instead of adhering to a strictly rational approach, the artist always maintained her independence from geometry and instead preferred distorted forms that are either moved or held together by inner invisible forces and thus never relinquish their essence of mystery. It is therefore not a complete contradiction that Sallenbach began creating figurative works again in the late 1970s while spending much time in Tuscany. Like her other works, these works are permeated by a similar belief in primordial powers, and yet they are clearly of a more mythological and spiritual, sacred nature. In her late woven metal works and rod sculptures, the abstract and figurative strains in her approach are ultimately reunited. This is wonderfully demonstrated by the fine-mesh brass sculpture “Horus” (1993), to name just one work in the collection. In alluding to the ancient Egyptian god, this work hints at the cosmic references that continued to reemerge throughout her oeuvre from time to time.