This and that – on stone

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This and that

On stone

Four years ago I bought a big block of marble- I was keen on making something smooth and simple.

Normally, I find little inspiration with a foreign material before I have become familiar with its nature. Therefore I made a clay model which allowed me to visualize it in all kinds of sizes.

It is fascinating and also frustrating to get to know a new material; and it can take a long time. I had to reject everything I thought I knew – stone, glass and concrete wants to do something else, by itself and always with its own set of conditions.

During periods of carving the stone it seemed that I made the same sculpture six times over before I reached the point where I could imagine the stone ending and the sculpture beginning.

So different from clay- this time I put the clay model away and stopped trying to copy the clay’s characteristics. I become engulfed by the work- the sound, the direction in the stone, a different kind of resistance. The stone crystallized with each blow shedding flakes that depended on the iron used. The stone opened up and slowly shapes were set in motion- the stiff, thin somewhat silly hardness contrasted by defensesiveness and something meek and soft. An organic logical movement, which grows out of the ground and creates a curve. Hard pushes soft out of balance, but softness yields and uses its larger density to pull hardness along down into the fall.


I follow all this during an exchange of what I know and do not know, a dead passage, a lively course, indentations from blows to the slick surface, like the distance between the first drops of rain. What I do not see now I leave with the conviction that I will see it later on when new angles show the way.

Italians claim that there is always enough stone. If you carve off too much in one spot the curve changes correspondingly. When I work with clay I am always amazed at how much material is required to fill a shape. By contrast with respect to stone I can now say that it is amazing how much needs to be removed in order to obtain a similar volume.

When I was young   I believed in the single best solution not realizing how much I destroyed along this path. Now I think differently and believe I see many equally good solutions while working with sculptures. This insight had given me more freedom.