Thomas Reifferscheid

„For me, working on hard rock means dealing with time and duration.“

Thomas Reifferscheid works and lives in Hürth. His important works from a wide variety of rocks can be found in the following public collections, among others: EMAAR Art Festival, Dubai (UAE), The Scenic Rim Council, Queensland, (AUS), Deutsche Bank, Wiesbaden (G), City of Wiesbaden (G). "Hard rocks like granite or basalt are my preferred materials. Sometimes I also use marble and limestone. I rarely work with hard woods like oak." - TR

We wanted to get a deeper insight into sources of inspiration and working methods and asked some questions:

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When did you start working as an artist?

Directly after my sculpture studies in 1984, I started working as an artist and since then I have been a freelance artist.

Is there something or someone who influences you?

On the one hand, the great sculptors have always fascinated me. These include Constantin Brâncuși and Karl Prantl. During my training Günter Manke and Heinz-Georg Häusler had some influence on me.

On the other hand, a cultural circumstance can also have an influence on me. When I am asked about art in a building project, I think about who the work is made for and where it should stand. Answers to these questions determine the characteristics of proportions and size that influence an object.

What materials do you work with and why?

I love dealing with hard rocks. Especially because the working process is slowed down tremendously. When working on a sculpture, it can happen that I grind and work in one and the same place for days on end. I often forget the temporal aspect.

Which stones do you prefer?

My focus is on the dark, hard stones, because their plasticity and the possibility of light and shadow play appeal to me very much and are very productive from an artistic point of view. In addition, the hard and resistive nature of the work makes it clear to me again and again what I am doing and what demands of me. I am also fascinated by the slower working process, which allows me to get involved in many details. There are, however, exceptions, from time to time I work with colored materials and more rarely with soft stones.

Do you want to say something with your art?

Visitors should discover for themselves what´s inside the sculptures. Many of my works are variations of known forms and visitors often find in confusion that it is something of its own. This corresponds very much to me. However, it should also be noted that in foreign countries, such as Australia, sculptures are often perceived quite differently than here in Europe.

After all, my sculptures are often a mystery to me. I hope that this will remain so for as long as possible. If this riddle also arises with visitors, I am happy, although it can often be irritating for the visitor.

But the decisive thing is that my work itself is a free play with basic forms and ideas.

What are your goals?

I want to remain a sculptor for as long as possible.

Why did you start working as an artist?

That I became an artist is still a mystery to me today. I only know that it came from my deepest inside. Thanks to my mother, I got access to artistic material at a very early age. While she was attending a painting course, I was allowed to deal with clay, model it and work on it without anyone criticizing me in any way or commenting on what I make out of it. That was a very intense and beautiful experience, which finally awakened my career aspiration.

Who and what inspires you?

Various things inspire me. On the one hand it's the material, the stone that I choose in a quarry, but also the cultural circumstances, such as a place for which the work is intended. I am also inspired by the social occasion that gives me an assignment.

Which techniques do you prefer?

My work is based on an interplay of different techniques. I start by choosing a block of stone and trying to recognize the proportions for the later form. As soon as I have determined the proportions, I define splitting lines, drill boreholes and split the stone with the help of the wedges. Splitting a stone block requires the highest concentration. The sound of the driving wedges, which becomes brighter and brighter, tells me when the tension is high enough to make the stone burst. A successful split is an extraordinarily beautiful moment. Then I draw the further outlines on the stone and cut them free.

Due to my further, very demanding processing of the stone, I exclusively use this technique, because I know whether the stone is strong enough or not.

Where is your workplace?

My work starts with choosing a stone. I go to quarries myself and choose my stone, which in turn influences the creative process. This quarry can be anywhere, in Germany or in Australia, where I often work at the moment.

Which values are important to you?

For me, working on hard rock means dealing with time and duration.

I am fascinated by the knowledge that my sculptures will survive me for a long time and represent their own value, which must be measured within a contemporary event.

During my work, when I am completely concentrated and I completely switch off my ego, I meet something extremely pure deep inside me. It cannot be put into words, but can be described with an almost meditative state. I try to find this state again and again.

What do you want to achieve in five years?

I would like to have gone one step further on my way as a sculptor, as part of the art world.


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