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p 11 • FALL/WINTER 2010

effort, a lot of risk in my sculptures.

There’s a lot of

regaining their self-confidence. People want to experience enjoyment from each other and from public spaces again, and I’m happy to take part in that process. I want to leave those societies something that is anchored in their histories. The art that I leave behind in those kinds of places should say something about what the people are really preoccupied with. This is recognized and appreciated. The image should be in service to the place. If you take a good look around you, you know what to make. In the Mekong Delta, for instance, they produce cartloads of rice – enough to feed 80 million people. That is a formidable achievement. So I made a huge marble grain of rice for those people, and they appreciated and understood it perfectly!

NEW BALANCE IN ANCIENT STONE Although you might not expect it, there is a subtlety in stone, something extremely delicate, even in stone as hard as granite. You can see Mother Earth at work in it. The first lesson in geology: stone took countless centuries to form.

More from Buckens:

Then I take a piece of the earth, put it in my studio and stare at it respectfully for hours. Sometimes there is a figure there in the stone already. I like to use stones taken from a bridge that’s been demolished, for instance. Those stones already have strong shapes when I get

them. It’s a matter of looking and nothing else, and then after that, as directly as possible, revealing what is already in the stone – as Michelangelo demonstrated in his unrivalled slave sculptures. The sculpture dictates the process.

Buckens likes working in his studio outside the city best: a large hangar on a farm. There, in what he himself calls the poetry of the extremely austere, bare and uncomfortable surroundings, he hatches his stone sculptures.

Some closing comments: In my studio, my refuge, I place my own sculptural language under the microscope. I discover the next step there in a difficult process. There’s a lot of effort, a lot of risk in my sculptures. My stacked sculptures defy gravity. I want to create the sculpture that only just doesn’t fall over, and that’s the challenge. I want that obvious figure that, on taking a closer look, looks risky after all. I can’t do anything else; I get up early in the morning to do it, and I go to bed late at night. It’s the only way in which I can really express myself. I work away the delicate balance later with invisible anchors in order to make a safe public life possible for the sculptures. My work doesn’t fit into a museum – either literally or figuratively. Public space is the biggest conceptual space that we have. This is where my work needs to be – my sculptures are for everyone.

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