Berlin Sculpture Gallery

Berlin Sculptor Michael Weiss

The Berlin sculptor Michael Weiss works in a very different way to the painter, who is spontaneous, impressionistic, impulsive, abstract. Rather each sculpted figure is the result of long sittings by the model who may be standing, lying or seated. The naked human form is reproduced - the male figure, the pregnant woman - as too the person lying in swimming costume. The sculpture, whether in Brennton or modelling clay or produced from a subsequent mould, is built up by applying layers - each layer shaped, smoothed, neatened before the next application. The process is a constant to and fro of the eye from the model to the sculpture, looking close up at detail as well as from a distance to get an oversight to see where improvements and corrections can be made.

The resulting sculpture takes on a life of its own and the model is no longer required. Unconsciously, imperceptibly, the sculpture insidiously frees itself from the model to start its own life, create its own style and to stand alone. The object is not to create an exact copy but a sculpture which is coherent. Every curve, every edge must be right. No human model is perfect but the representation of him can be. It must invite the observer to relate to it, to want to look round it. This can only happen when the contours are right and the shape leads him on and encourages him to look at it from all angles. The sculpture has a life outside itself which is sometimes because the material itself has lead independently to changes.

The sculptures from Michael Weiss are distinctive with a limited edition of at most 3-5 copies impose themselves even when at most 3-5 figures are displayed together. Their facial expressions suit their mood; they now wear some light articles of clothing, which are portrayed through colour. The works are not colourful, however, and are restricted to Mango tones, sometimes patinated.

The recent series of works are not of people but feature abstract landscapes. These are narrow sculptures, or, more accurately, two-sided reliefs, where the back and front merge - in the end the observer cannot say which is the front and which the back. Each person will interpret for himself the forms of the mountains and valleys, the fields and the meadows, the hills and the lowlands, will find his own favourite place or will liken the landscape to the contours of the body.

Michael's work as an artist and sculptor are quite distinct. The paintings do not originate from the sculptures and the sculptures not from the paintings. Every medium affords him a new approach figurative-abstract, hints of colour, reductive, expressive, reflective. What starts as a deliberate process with the help of sketches and with a model, develops into a sculpture that has a life of its own that demands to become an autonomous work of art.

Text:  Arnold Müller, Berlin 2012


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