From Radiance Spring 1998
I began sculpting large women at the early age of ten or
twelve! I was simply fascinated by curves and lines that were pleasant to the touch-and my
early works were all hand-sculpted using the very sensual medium of clay.
From the beginning, I referred to my sculptures as Dicke Frauen-and for
some reason, unknown to me, the images of large women continued to develop as I continued
to work and to learn.
I was fortunate enough to study, from the time I was very young, with a
well-known artist here in Freiburg: my own father!
My father worked with many different materials, including glass, steel,
wood, and clay. Therefore I had the opportunity to experiment with all these media, and my
father taught me specific techniques, for example, in sculpture.
Even today, my father and I work closely together, and we have shared
the same studio for many years. In fact, my parents and my own little family-I am a
working wife and mother, with a nine-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son-share a
house. Freiburg, which is in the southwestern part of Germany, is an old
university city, and we also benefit from its close proximity to France and Switzerland
(just about forty-five minutes by car!).
In the past three years, I have had five exhibits in my hometown of
Freiburg, in the southern German city of Ulm, and in Basel, Switzerland.
I also have used my sculptures in show window decorations intended to
sell, in a very artistic manner, extraordinary jewelry, exclusive fragrances, handmade
furniture, and fashions for large-size women. My "Ladies,"
as I call them in English, have been well received, whether in these window displays or as
separate art objects themselves.
I neither work with models, nor am I my own model. It is the idea, the
mental image I have, of soft and curved lines that I transfer to the solid materials with
which I work. Throughout time, I began to focus on a bricklike
concrete substance called ytong, which is often used to build houses. Its color ranges
from a bright white to a light gray. In working with ytong, I must employ saws to create the raw shape of the sculpture. Then I use hammers and other tools to
achieve the details. Finally, the surface is finished with files and sandpaper.
Recently, I have also become interested in bronze sculptures. Usually,
the bronze figures are smaller than my "Ytong Ladies,"
smaller than twenty inches in height.
While creating models for the bronze sculptures, I came up with designs
for jewelry: earrings and rings in sterling silver that turned out to be very popular with
my friends and frequent customers.
For the most part, reactions to my work are more than positive. It has
almost become possible for me to make a living at my
art. My customers, both women and men, say that they are attracted by the sense of
self-confidence that my sculpted figures seem to embody.
This response encourages me in my wish to give my Ladies a broader
audience, outside of Germany, and, of course, to share them with you: readers who
appreciate the large, round female form. ©
For information on Viola Jürgens's work and to receive a brochure,
write to her at Karlstr. 67, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
back to the Spring 1998 issue