XANDER SPRONKEN BIO
Xander Spronken was born in Maastricht, Holland in 1956 and studied sculpture at the Stadsacademie in Maastricht and design at the Fachhochschule in Aachen, Germany. Spronken’s sculpture finds its genesis in the application of Cubist ideas to iron as found in the work of Julio Gonzalez created following the Second World War.
Unlike his predecessors, Jorge Oteiza and Eduardo Chillida, who transformed iron into a means of artistic expression, Xander is a smith and intimately understands his medium. Spronken’s subject derives from nature with vegetal imagery being his point of departure in his monolithic sculptures where he manages to animate the negative space or volume which has the same value as the positive mass.
Spronken’s sense of responsibility toward the environment and nature is rooted in Bauhaus design and the architectural concerns of the De Stijl. Thus, it is not surprising to learn that he is also a master of furniture design and its fabrication in steel. More recently he has produced a series of “iron plate” reliefs enhanced with paint.
A Note on the Artist
Tactile and linear components converge and merge in Spronken's work in an image that immediately appeals to gestural empathy. The onlooker feels the movement of the sculpture in his hands as an expression of vitality. Seen from a distance, the sculpture strikes by its monumentality and the way space is liberated and “breathes” through and around it; at a small distance it invites the onlooker to feel its strength and even to grasp it, as it perfectly fits in the hand. This intimacy, together with the act of freeing the gaze, results in an experience of airiness and lightness, paradoxically sprung from a very heavy material.
A second experience for the onlooker with regard to empathy is the interplay of silence and inner sound: the sculptures seem to have an acoustic presence. Is this due to the material alone, metal being apt to ring and resound? Or do we have to meditate on the global effect of the sculptures, their subtle relation to space and their very own language?
Within the panorama of contemporary art, important shifts of questioning have occured in the last decennia, especially in sculpture and architecture. After the breaking through of negative space, negative volume having the same value as positive mass, the question is whether the minimal form has still to be further reduced of whether it is time to reflect on new possibilities. Nowadays we are concerned with our dwelling on earth. How can an artist bring this awareness into an expressive form? Will he not choose to put this question in a variety of activities, going from design to sculpture, with architecture in mind? This urge may arise from a new sense of responsibility towards the environment and nature.
The Bauhaus design was a part of rational achitecture in steel and glass. The question then arises how to maintain human scale, human emotion and human spiritual needs in a highly technical environment, and how to develop a language that can immediately be “grasped”? By combining his intimate knowledge and experience of the tradition of craft and his equally personal training in spiritual traditions, Xander Spronken did find a synthesis and a guidance, a path to reconciliation with the spirit of our time.
A quote from "The Measure of Volume and Void The sculpture of Xander Spronken," by Annie Reniers, Professor Free University of Brussels.
J. van Rijn Fine Art, Maastircht
Gallery Leeman, Amsterdam
Keerder Kunstkamer, Cadier en Keer
European Fine Art Fair, Maastricht
Boterhal Hoorn, Hoorn
Gallery Ligne, Brussels
Gallery Cisly, Brussels
Pan Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Rob van Rijn, Maastricht
Gallery Hamman, Haarlem
Luis Elvira, Madrid
Gallery Barwaldt, Maastricht
Gallery Lambert, Valkenswaard
Gallery Interart, Heeswijk
Gallery Annie v/d Besselaar, Maastricht
Schuwirth en van Noorden, Maastricht
Landau Fine Art, Montreal
Museo del Hierro, Castellon
Richard Philip, London
Art Contemporain, Strassbourg
Holland Art Fair, Den Haag
Gallery Signori, Hoorn
Gallery Artisjoke, Maastricht
The Grosvenor Art, London
Art Basel, Basel
Van de Broek Gallery, Helenaveen
World Trade Center, Amsterdam