Ralf Sander’s artistic work is characterized by a profound fascination with and passion for the laws and principles of physics and mathematics, for technology and history. His sculptures contravene ideas about how machines function and interact with the natural environment. They oscillate across art science, nature, the machine and the human body. He works with industrial remains combined with his own creations. The artist has created an extensive oeuvre employing a number of different artistic media, including drawing, sculpture, performance and sound. In his work, nature, technology and human are closely intertwined. His installations are in thrall to "the forms of things unknown," to use Shakespeare's phrase. The variety of materials employed keeps any single exhibition of his pieces looking fresh, and also proves--should it still be necessary--that artistic seriousness does not require stylistic homogeneity. Sanders methodology, however, has a consistency to it. The material world is Sander's oyster; he has a rare feel and sharp eye for the little-noticed made things that increasingly constitute our environment. Visual wit, permeates his best sculptures, as it does those of Alexander Calder, another playful expatriate with an engineering bent. Things in the world generally are Sander's starting point, and those things may be the works of other artists. Sander has shown himself to be a parodist. But Sander’s sculpture is not straightforward, there is also an underlying threat of unease. The laboratory vessels, set into the surfaces, spoil the simple idea to heal the environment, to save the world. As if a horrible disease has infested our visions.
Where is the borderline between virtual and real world? Might it therefore be possible to find here more than only content and aesthetics but the idea of reception and manipulation as well?


Dr. Hillary Pollack