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Hubertus von der Goltz

In the distance on a building high above, a man tries to maintain his balance along a narrow steel beam. Both him and the beam seem somewhat superfluous to the structure of the building. Why is he up there and what is he doing? Our pulse quickens in respond to the spectacle above, and gives us cause to question the man`s sanity. Hubertus von der Goltz´s two-dimensional silhouettes can only sustain this deception momentarily, however, and the drama of the situation finally gives way to reality.

Though the novelty of the moment might have been prolonged by a more realistic three-dimensional depiction of the human figure, the effect would have undermined the ability of von der Goltz`s figures to express other more potent aspects. He does not want us to be distracted by volume and colour, but rather to see his figures as signifiers, capable of generating meaning in different ways and on more profound levels.

Balance is at the core of Hubertus von der Goltz´s work. The subtly rendered gestures and postures of his figures are poised to reflect the allegorical possibilities which balance suggests. The rise and fall of mankind are contained in their lofty heights, precarious disposition, and enduring stance. His figures are powerful, concise symbols, epitomizing the trials and tribulations of human existence.

The buildings and landmarks upon which von der Goltz´s figures are installed function in an associative way through their direct connection to the figures themselves. This occurs because of the innate human qualities which pervade and epitomize our social and political structures. Judicial buildings and art museums have identities, but their nuances are hidden by the conventions of daily existence.With his figures mounted onto the tops of them, we feel the tensions and human behaviors embedded within these institutions more deeply. We see them as reflections or emblems of the constancy of our struggle, an open question to the concepts of conflict, reason, and change.

While Hubertus von der Goltz´s outdoor works focus on the interrelationship between man and his social institutions, his smaller indoor pieces are more effective at presenting us with an intimate linear event, documenting the past, present, and future of his figures as they proceed along their narrow walkways. Von der Goltz´s work gives us a sense of perspective concerning our particular place in time and how that moment may relate to the flux and change of future states of being. We may even identify the pattern of stress and flow within the path of the figures with a particular sequence of ups and downs we have experienced during our own lives.

Hubertus von der Goltz´s indoor work is often installed above doorways or hidden in corners, ceilings and other unusual areas. Gallery lights frequently generate soft shadows offering contrast to the harsher silhouettes. These shadows can also create new figures and pathways, suggesting an alternative, subconscious level of perception or reality. The idea of illusionary silhouettes and real shadows can alter our reference points, and create a rather ambiguous scenario, further confusing our spatial and intellectual perspective.

The interpretation of Hubertus von der Goltz´s work is often dependent on our particular mood and state of being. Within his installations, the universal and particular coexist and are available to be alternately interpreted at any moment. Their existential simplicity allows them to function as independent symbolic entities, capable of expressing both personal and social dilemmas, and serving as a reminder of the inescapable element of change, and the need for perseverance.

Ed Krantz, Galery Curator
Elgin Community College