Ruud Kuijer - On Sculpture ‘Reflections by a maker and an observer’ - 2019

Artists go their own way. First and foremost, their task is to go where no one has gone before. After exploring a few important markers put down by others, they start their own journey. I believe this is the experience of many artists.

Where there is no-one, there is quiet. In such a situation, pen and paper can be helpful. For over thirty years, they have helped me to acquire an understanding of what sculpture essentially is and what it could be. They gave and continue to give direction to my ever indeterminate, never fully established artistic ambition. My work continues to develop.

Writing helped me keep track of the steps I made. Usually, scribbles on scraps of paper would only emerge afterwards, after creation, to determine and understand what was happening under my hands. The scribbling never stops.

Two years ago, I decided to make an inventory of all the fragments of text that I wrote since the late 1980s. It turned out that many text fragments could be developed into full-blown statements. I went to work, and this volume is the result. The subtitle is: Reflections by a Maker and an Observer. The notes are written from a shifting perspective; from the inside to the outside and vice versa. Inside means: within the studio – materials, the making process. Outside denotes art history, sculpture in general, and work by other sculptors.

From a multitude of notes, eighteen have been selected for this book. Two texts already had their final form because they were written for earlier occasions: ‘Threaded Rod’ from 2003 and ‘Sculpture and Throwaway Culture’ from 2013. They were re-edited for this edition.

The selection does not provide a complete overview of my entire artistic practice. The aim was to create a coherent whole. Something that provides insight into what has been important, so far, to me as a sculptor in shaping my vision of sculpture as a medium.

‘A massive form moves real space, pushes the space away and establishes itself in that same space. Mass and volume coincide and instil in the beholder a real, perhaps even spiritual experience.’

Preface of the book On Sculpture by Ruud Kuijer, published by nai010 publishers.