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Martin Willing
Quadratschichtung biaxial wachsend, 2001

Weldural, sawed, planed, cut, blasted, on adjustable stainless steel plinth
225 x 50 x 50 cm
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Photo: Gerhard Sauer

The work of the metal sculptor Martin Willing is in the tradition of Concrete Art, as defined by van Doesburg in 1924: an anti-figurative art that simultaneously distances itself from abstract art, which it regarded as too imbued with subjective emotion. Instead, art production was to be a controlled, rational procedure based on scientific, mostly mathematical methods that guarantee the works a supra-personal validity.


Working from a plinth and a square ground plan, Willing's Quadratschichtung towers up like a four-sided pyramid standing on its tip, attaining with its 225 cm considerably more than the height of its human beholders. The form of the pyramid is used on the one hand by way of contrast to the horizontally layered squares. On the other hand it produces contrasts by means of the gently slanting trapeziums that adjoin the squares. These trapeziums draw the squares piece by piece upwards while simultaneously increasing the squares' surface areas bit by bit. This progressive increase in the surface area of the trapeziums and squares is performed regularly, and directed along two axes: one running more or less directly upwards and one set slightly off vertical. Each of the trapeziums begins at a different side of the square to the preceding one, so that after every three stages upwards a trapezium will appear once again on any given side of the pyramid. As a result, the construction does not look closed in, but very light and open. The fact that the sculpture has been made in one single piece increases the impression of easy elegance and simplicity.


Martin Willing

1958 born in Bocholt (DE)
Lives and works in Cologne