Photo: Almuth Tebbenhoff in London

Almuth Tebbenhoff


Concepts Opposites. Hard surfaces that are broken up into flowing curves, heavy steel frames that float on a cushion of pink reflected light, sharp spikes that combine into a furry round ball. Recurring themes and concepts in my work revolve around a balance of opposites. Very large steel forms appearing as if they were made from folded paper. The continuous tension which suspends us between life and death. Influences Astronomy, eternity, natural physical forces, stones, trees, earth, compost. I spent the first seventeen years of my life growing up on a farm in Germany. On a clear night my father would scan the skies with his telescope and explain the vastness and remoteness of outer space. Thunder and lightning, crystals on window frames replaced television; as did watching animals be born, mate and be slaughtered. As a child I once saw a potter at a wheel and found it mesmerising; the silent focus and the sloppy earthy quality of clay completely captivated me. In 1963 I visited the first Dokumenta exhibition in Kassel and I knew I needed to be an artist. In 1972 I enrolled at Sir John Cass School of Arts to study ceramics - Lucie Rie was my heroine and I loved ancient Japanese Oribe pottery. Soon my work turned towards sculpture. Clay became too limiting and I began looking for other materials more suited to my ideas. Calder, Tinguely, Caro, Robert Morris and a lot of bold sculptors pushed me onwards. Now I look towards artists such as Anselm Kiefer, James Turrell and Marlene Dumas. Career path I trained in ceramics at Sir John Cass School of Art from 1972-5 then set up my own studio in 1975. I made functional pots as well as sculptures. I believed that anything could be made out of clay and set out to prove it. Paolozzi saw my work and invited me to attend drawing lessons at the Royal College of Art. For a year I had access to classes, lectures, libraries and contact with students to broaden my outlook. Several shows in North Germany made me a collectable ceramic artist. I made ceramic washbasins and wall and floor tiles as well as large ceramic sculptures. In 1985-6 I learnt to fabricate metal at South Thames College. Thereafter I concentrated on steel. I developed my own technique of cutting and welding. Two large steel sculptures are now in St. George's Hospital, Tooting and one in Richard Rogers' development in Chiswick Park. The University of Leicester commissioned a large steel sculpture for the foyer of the new Library. The Cass Foundation sold several of my sculptures in Goodwood. I am a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and I was a member of council. I was shortlisted for numerous public commissions including the Battle of Britain Memorial on the Victoria Embankment. In 2006 I won a scholarship to learn marble carving in Pietrasanta in Italy. 2012 I curated the sculpture exhibition for the University of Leicester 'Interesting Times' and in 2013 I curated 'A Change of Heart'. I received an Honorary Doctorate in 2013 from Leicester University.

Location London
Activities Workshops, Public art, Private commissions, Curating, Studio practice
Artforms / type of project Drawing, Environment, Installation, Public Art, Sculpture
Tags Fabrication, Curating, Workshops, Sculpture, Carving, Bronze Casting, Thinking, Abstract Sculpture, Wall-based Sclulpture, Public Art