triennial awards

14th Small Sculpture Triennial Fellbach 2019 40,000. A Museum of Curiosity Curator: Dr Brigitte Franzen

Founded in 1980, the Fellbach Small Sculpture Triennial is one of the most longstanding art exhibitions of its kind in Germany and attracts enormous public attention.
The 14th Triennial will be opened on Saturday, 1 June 2019, in the Alte Kelter in Fellbach, and will run until 29 September 2019.

Every three years the Small Sculpture Triennial presents contemporary sculptures by international artists on 3000m² of exhibition space. The idea underlying the Triennial − to give renowned curators extensive freedom to formulate a concept and select the participating artists, while working within the parameters of the binding and unifying term ′small sculpture′ − guarantees that every single Triennial is vibrantly innovative and unique. The exhibition is fully committed to the current art discourse.

The success story that is the Triennial was decisively shaped by the respective artistic directors. While geographical and geopolitical premises set the framework for the first seven Triennials, since 2001 − at a juncture when the globalisation of art came to the fore − those responsible have decided to pursue a conceptual orientation, meaning that emphasis was placed on aesthetic, art historical and sociological questions. The international profile of the exhibited artists remained the guiding principle however − so too the focusing on sculpture in smaller format, which was by no means understood dogmatically however. The curators engaged up until now were Heinz Fuchs, Manfred Schneckenburger, Christoph Brockhaus, Lóránd Hegyi, Werner Meyer, Thomas Deecke, Jean-Christoph Ammann, Matthias Winzen and Ulrike Groos. They were followed by Yilmaz Dziewior and Angelika Nollert. The 13th Triennial was curated by Susanne Gaensheimer.

The 14th Small Sculpture Triennial will be curated by Dr Brigitte Franzen (*1966). An expert in art and cultural studies, Brigitte Franzen is currently chair of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation. Between 2009 and 2015 she was director of the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen. From 2005 to 2008 she worked as a curator for contemporary art at the Westphalian State Museum and curated the Sculpture Projects Münster in 2007. She has authored and edited numerous publications on contemporary art and has taught extensively, including at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and the University of Cologne. She describes her approach as “research−based curating”.

For the Triennial Franzen has drawn inspiration from the spectacular findings of the prehistoric figurines in the caves of the nearby Swabian Jura, which, dating back some 40,000 years, include the lion-man and the Venus of Hohle Fels, pieces that have generated enormous international interest. From this local background she argues the case for taking a perspective on contemporary art that is at once many−voiced, model-based and anthropological. Historical objects, in part as high−quality replicas, will thus be integrated into the exhibition.

40,000. A Museum of Curiosity is the title of the 14th Small Sculpture Triennial. The small sculptural format is particularly suitable for demonstrating key aspects of the drive behind artistic expression such as mimesis, world interpretation, experimentation and innovation. Smallness is a unique dimension. In terms of sculpture, the small implies transportability, the handmade, or at the very least an appropriately scaled dimension and model quality.

Religious objects, talismans, totems, fetishes, toys, horcruxes or attributes − throughout history small sculptures have had a physical closeness to humans or been in the immediately surrounds. Inherent to the small sculpture, these possibilities are still relevant for art production today. This gives rise to an unusual intimacy, or indeed an affinity, between the object and owner or viewer, which in turn impacts on the meaning assigned to the piece. The archetypical or prototypical resides in this scalability. It demands greater attention to the details and closer inspection.

More than 50 international artists are taking part in the 14th Triennial and their works will illustrate the explorative impulse in sculptural practice, one that is oriented on gaining knowledge and insight. Artists are experts for an anthropological inquisitiveness, for creating a work through the interplay of memory and hand. This aspect will be examined in detail and is especially relevant today given current developments in the areas of automatization and digitalization.

To tell a heterogeneous, mutually−inspiring history between art objects and cult and everyday objects is the basis of the exhibition concept. Despite the uniformity of our current globalised world, there exist cultural and aesthetic differences across a broad spectrum of cultures. Taking a look back at the art production of earlier times shows how curiosity and the sheer necessity to interpret the surrounding world or − since the rise of modernity − to respond to it with (counter−) models, has been an anthropological constant of artistic work. Art then arises when nature is being investigated, weighed up, both the surrounding nature of our environment and the nature of the human body, be it in the form of transgressing the boundaries set by nature or the attempt to find reconciliation with nature. This is reflected in the exhibition design by the renowned landscape architects from the atelier le balto, which employs garden−like structures.

As a Museum of Curiosity, the imposing venue of the Alter Kelter in Fellbach will enable visitors to take part in a special art experience and, at the same time, embed the Triennial in the broader context of the Remstal Garden Show, to be held concurrently in 16 municipalities along the Rems River.

A diverse supporting programme, including around 250 guided tours for adults, children and school groups, as well as workshops, lectures, readings, panel discussions, concerts and participative events, will further enhance the exhibition experience.

Further information is available at: Kulturamt Fellbach, Marktplatz 1, 70734 Fellbach, telephone: 0711/5851−364, E−Mail:;

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