Moving stone sculptures. Comments on the art of Ulrich Hochmann.

From Herbert Schneidler.

Since the early 90s of the 20th century, Ulrich Hochmann has been occupied with a technique that sometimes stood in the shade of new materials and approaches – that of stone sculpturing. However it is the sculpting of stone that can be referred to as the art with the longest history in the fine arts, and this is without having any dispute as to its standing within the fine arts. Diverse reasons might have been decisive for Hochmann’s development, one of the main reasons appears to be lying within the material itself and as a primary element of mankind, which was used by humans to achieve awareness of themselves and their position in nature in the early times of their historical progress.

The development from stone used as a tool, to stone as a piece of art, has outlasted much of the history of mankind and is generally only subjected to the changes causes by nature.

Ulrich Hochmann, being a real ‘nature guy,’ uses his hands but lets a stone still stay stone, although it is used by the artist to become an object something between nature and art.

Around 10 years ago, when the sculptor left behind his figurative artefacts in order to soften the system of eternity that is always assigned to the stone as a monument, Ulrich Hochmann started to split, and in doing so, open the stone. “Wedges in holes build up tension until the stone tears apart.“ Ausst.-Buch, Walterspiel-Farbicons: „Hochmann-Teilchenbewegung“, S.3, Kunstpavillon Alter Botanischer Garten, München, 2007 )

In his process of developing this art, both calculation and chance enter the equation and the anthropomorphic character gives way to an abstract object-like appearance. But Ulrich Hochmann wants more and seeks for opportunities to challenge the viewer with his sculptures. In his ‚Artikulata’, he picks out the opening of the rock as a central topic and the distinctive hinge is supposed to act as the ‘moment of movement’.

In his ‚Modulas’, the hinge itself is the actual scuplture. Hinges work like joints of living beings. The changeability becomes the most important artistic intention of Ulrich Hochmann. It implies a temporal course and, more than this, a motion of sequences which radically suits the personality of the artist.

Life and art come closer in proximity, something that becomes apparent in actions such as ‚Swimming (with) stones’.

Thus the sculptor works with classic rock types such as basalt, granite, limestone or marble and prepares his objects by making sketches that show the interaction of the subjective idea and is implemented in stone.

This form sometimes even appears to be a serial or technoid language in his latest sculptures being based on a concept of art that seems to be very special in the context of his contemporary generation of sculptors.

Ulrich Hochmann acts not only as a sculptor but also as an experimenter who seeks the proximity of his viewers as well as their perception, studying intensively the meaning of both tactile and visual experiences.

For this he uses the mobile nature of his stone works which suggests a lightness in the stone itself.

Therefore an unusual, even radical, form of aesthetics arises and, as mentioned, this implements the need for the fusion of art and life, which he approaches in an impressive way.

So finally, words from an ancestor of Ulrich Hochmann, Marcel Duchamp, shall be cited, that underline the validity of the remarkable oeuvre of this sculptor: “The creative process gains a completely new meaning when the viewer is confronted with the phenomenon of transformation. With the transformation of inert matter in a work of art the real transformation of substance takes place. The important role of the observer is to determine the weigh of the work on the aesthetic scale.” (Eduard Trier: “Bildhauertheorien im 20. Jahrhundert”, S. 174, Berlin, 1980)