ARTISTS / Art after 1945
Thomas Lenk


Available works
Thomas Lenk
1933Born in Berlin-Charlottenburg
1945Moved to Württemberg
1950Attends the Stuttgart Art Academy, then apprenticeship as a stonemason
1952first sculptural works
1955first non-figurative sculptures
1960first "dialectical objects
1964first "Schichtungen
1967moves to Stuttgart; International Purchase Award Price, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh
1968Participation in documenta 4 in Kassel. Occupation with
 architecture-related projects
1969Prize Socha Piestanskych Parkov, Bratislava. I. Nuremberg Biennial
1970German contribution (together with Heinz Mack, Georg Karl Pfahler and Günther Uecker) on the occasion of the XXXV Venice Biennale; project of a phono-sculpture
1972Project of a theater-sound-sculpture
1974Relocation to Tierberg near Schwäbisch Hall; Prize at the 2nd Norwegian Graphic Biennale in Frederikstad
1977Project of a sound fountain; series "ADGA", investigations with the element of the folding rule
1978Visiting professor at Helwan University, Cairo
1988Honorary membership of the Art Gallery of Ontario / Musée des Beaux-Arts de l'Ontario, Toronto/Canada
1989Awarded the title of Professor by the State of Baden-Württemberg
1993Membership of the Humboldt Society
1995Guest of honor at the Villa Massimo, Rome
2008Relocation from Tierberg Castle to Schwäbisch Hall
2014died in Schwäbisch Hall
With his sculptures of reduced form, the German sculptor Thomas Lenk took an innovative direction in sculpture, which was accompanied not only by his early appreciation in Germany, but also by his international recognition. In Thomas Lenk's initial creative phase between 1960 and 1963, he created works in which he was concerned with general spatial experiences, especially in the combination of blocks and rod elements. These works, christened "Dialectical Objects," reflect Lenk's initial closeness to American Minimal Art through their reduced form and the industrial materials he used: concrete, steel, and aluminum. His main creative phase can be located in the 1960s to 1970s, during which he produced his first works with the expressive title "Schichtungen" (Layering) beginning in 1964. The consistent motif of this group of works is, on the one hand, an overarching shape determined by the rectangle, combined with elements of the same shape and dimensions staggered flatly one behind the other, with the corners always rounded off. The attentive viewer recognizes how the sculptures intervene in the space surrounding them, changing it and thus redefining it. This effect is intensified by the differentiated color surfaces painted with luminous paints, which virtually collide with the materials he prefers to use, such as wood, aluminum, or steel. The high regard in which Lenk's new approach to sculpture was already held at the time can be seen in the positive statement made by the then director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Edward F. Fry, on the occasion of the group exhibition "Lenk/Pfahler" in Darmstadt in 1968, when he said that Lenk was the "most independent and important of the German sculptors". The gallery owner Hans-Jürgen Müller, who was surrounded by other renowned artists such as Erich Hauser, Georg Karl Pfahler, and Lothar Quinte in the avant-garde art center of Stuttgart in the 1960s, also felt confirmed in his visionary assessment and promotion of Lenk. 
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