Drei Volumina / Three Volumes

The “Drei Volumina” sculpture by Ansgar Nierhoff, nicknamed “tin cans” by the population, was one of the works whose installation sparked the “Lüdenscheid art controversy” in 1975. Seen from a historical distance today, it seems astonishing how strange and possibly disturbing this abstract sculpture in public space must have seemed in the 1970s. Ansgar Nierhoff, who has worked exclusively with massive iron in forging technique since 1978, used steel for his “Drei Volumina.” His interest in the spatial effect of different volumes and their modification is clearly visible, though. Three steel cuboids of equal size are placed behind each other on a paved, also rectangular surface, with the first standing upright on its narrow side, the second on its long side and the third on one of its base surfaces while a bump lifts it halfway from the ground. All three volumes seem randomly dented, having taken a massive blow to one of their long sides in particular. Nierhoff’s interest here is in the serial variation of an identical basic form which, despite equal basic volumes, occupies space in different ways because of the way it is set up and apparently randomly deformed. The three forms are staggered in such a way that they can be perceived both as independent objects and as a three-part total form.

The sculpture had first been installed on Rathausplatz in 1975 but had to be dismantled in 2002 due to damages. Thanks to the support of the Kunstfreunde Lüdenscheid, the sculpture could be restored and re-installed in the Stadtgarten near the Kulturhaus in 2013.


Ansgar Nierhoff

geboren in Meschede; gestorben 2010 in Köln.
Gesellenbrief als Maurer.
Allgemeine Hochschulreife an der Frankenberger Edertalschule.
Kunststudium an der Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Meisterschüler von Norbert Kricke. Zu seinen weiteren Lehrern gehörten Joseph Fassbender und der Kunsthistoriker Eduard Trier.
Umzug nach Köln.
Teilnahme an der documenta 6 in Kassel.
Zeitweise Arbeit als Assistent von George Rickey in dessen New Yorker Atelier.
Gastprofessor an der Gesamthochschule Kassel.
Professor an der Akademie für Bildende Künste der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz in Mainz.
August Macke Preis.
Ansgar Nierhoff gilt in der Kunstgeschichte als Pionier der Edelstahlplastik.

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Stadtgarten near Kulturhaus, Sauerfelder Straße, 58507 Lüdenscheid
Ansgar Nierhoff
1974/1975, re-installed 2013
not specified
stainless steel, three parts
Object type