Ulrich Rückriem

(Düsseldorf, 1938)

Siglo XX, 1995

20 stelae of pink granite (mined in Porriño)
400 x 100 x 100 cm
Abiego. Huesca

Estela XXI, 1995

1 stela of pink granite (mined in Porriño)
400 x 100 x 100 cm
CDAN. Huesca

Curator: Alicia Chillida
Desarrollo técnico del proyecto: Luis Enguita

Video 30″:   http://youtu.be/hHVO3bHzGZ4


Ulrich Rückriem Catalogue: Ulrich Rückriem: Pirineos, Huesca, 1995. Textes d’Alicia Chillida et José Lebrero Stals. Ostfildern-Ruit: Cantz, 1997.

Ulrich Rückriem has been working as an independent sculptor since the 1960s. His artistic journey began in a quarry, where he learned about all the processes for transforming stone and about his own reactions to different interventions. This knowledge laid the foundation for his work, and is reflected in the stelae that are so characteristic of his oeuvre. His work has been presented mainly in Europe, and one of the high points of his career was his participation in the 1978 edition of the Venice Biennial as a representative of the Federal Republic of Germany.


In the case of the group at Abiego, as we move closer their volume relative to us and the relationship between them varies; the columns open up, some move away more than others; and when we enter, we find that the space has become a welcoming interior. As we move away, the group of stelae gradually closes up until finally, from the field to the west, we see how they come to form an unbroken wall, a single piece in dialogue with the landscape, a skirting board that hold up the horizon.

Alicia Chillida. Ulrich Rückriem: Pirineos, Huesca. Ostfildern-Ruit: Cantz, 1999, p 25.


The location of the work is a difficult one. It is far away (from the space where contemporary art usually resides) yet refuses to remain anonymous, instead rising up with a solid presence and glorying in its striking verticality. The narrow trail that must be followed to reach the spot where the artist’s creation awaits us offers the traveller the always pleasant surprise of a natural landscape in transformation. Far away from the conventional white cube that serves as the usual receptacle for artworks, every weed, every sky, and every cloud renew their capacity to seduce. Openly distanced by the artist from the places where art is usually found ensconced (the gallery, the museum, and the city), the situation created by the work, orphaned from its legitimating containers, creates a visual surprise for those who spot it in the distance as they arrive from the nearby town – a work whose solemnity is discovered by those who, having reached the site, walk amongst the stelae, automatically transforming the it simply by breaking its silence, startling it with their sudden presence. There are unlikely places like this where it becomes possible to fleetingly reconstruct a notion of art that is as wished-for as it is impossible: an art that frees us from cultural preconceptions. 

José Lebrero. Ulrich Rückriem: Pirineos, Huesca. Ostfildern-Ruit Cantz: 1999, p 34.










How to get to Siglo XX and Siglo XXI:

Coordinates Siglo XX: Latitude 42º 6’ 32,67’’ N. Longitude 0º 3’ 52,73’’ W

Coordinates Siglo XXI: Latitude 42º 9’ 7,13’’ N. Longitude 0º 25’ 36,53’’ W