An installation of eight individual sculptures, The Last Fifty Years, 1968 / 2019 is a compendium of the most emblematic standards, processes and tools in Ulrich Rückriem’s work. Each of the pieces that form part of the installation represented, at its own time, a decisive step in Rückriem’s concept of sculpture. Though always reflecting the unique characteristics of his artistic vision, Rückriem’s discourse and formal approach to the material and the intellectual have developed throughout his career, as can be seen in these different sculptural models.
All pieces have their own specific origin and their current assembly as an installation provides a global overview of the last fifty years of a body of work in which steel, stone, wood and drawing have formed the backbone of his production.
The Last Fifty Years covers an extensive chronological period starting in 1968 and ending in 2010 and is presented here as a joint installation for the first time.
In 1968, Rückriem extracted the maximum regular cube possible from a dolomite block. Sawing it on each of its faces, he cut the cube into two equal wedges: the simplicity and restraint of this gesture is synthesised in the separation of the cube into practically equal parts and their subsequent reunion. Using this sculptural synthesis as a starting point, The Last Fifty Years continues with the presentation of wooden beams placed perpendicularly on the floor to form a square; a row of steel reinforcing bars with their ends rolled up and folded; an old iron plate found and completed with a new piece to form a rectangle; a slate board cut in half longitudinally and in five transverse sections, each the half of the previous one; an iron bar hammered into a flat surface; a dolomite stone relief in the shape of a wedge; and a flat floor sculpture in MDF which transfers the artist’s integral concept of drawing and the line, based on the systematic union of straight lines between seven randomly marked points, into the sculptural.
The monumental, the intimate and the procedural alongside the voluminous, the fragmented and the material capture the essence of this artist’s sculptural output, here concentrated in this historical work.