Ansgar Nierhoff: Paarweise / In Pairs, 1988

englisch, english, permanent-en, Uncategorized

 Forged steel, fired; 370 (h) x 99 x 34 cm

Note: This sculpture has been temporarily removed from 16 August 2022 to be renovated; see here (in German).

„Heavy material, light poetry: The sculpture of Ansgar Nierhoff (1941 – 2010) turns the inside out. The two unequal steel pillars stand back to back, yet they once were one. The relief surfaces originating from the separation of a single steel ingot into two separate stelae are mutually dependent on each other – whilst at the same time being unique. Depending on the perspective they are protecting – or turning their back on – each other. It’s not just about the spatial relationship of two bodies, but also about the carving of a characteristic signature out of one single smooth block. The brute force of the industrial manufacturing process is contrasted by the exhilarating lightness of the stelae.“
(Tankred Stachelhaus)

My sculpture is not the speedy idea and smooth shape. Sculpture is an action process: reflecting my history, my experiences, and the constraints from which I am endeavouring to – somewhat – free myself and my work.“
(Ansgar Nierhoff)

Ansgar Nierhoff created this work from a single steel block. The two parts, separated along an irregular line, are placed side by side, after being rotated in two spatial directions. In the two parts of the sculpture standing next to each other, visitors often see a human couple – of different sizes – standing „back to back“ and (depending on the view of the person looking at them … and their historical background) either having nothing (more) to say to each other … or alternately „keeping their backs free“ and thus jointly protecting and supporting themselves against the outside world.


From August 2022 the sculpture Paarweise / In Pairs will be removed temporarily for restoration purposes by a specialist company; see here.

Impressions from an Exhibition and a Hiking Tour with Ansgar Nierhoff im August 2008 here.

More about Ansgar Nierhoff and other of his works in public spaces in Essen here.