Deweer Gallery, Otegem, Belgium, as per certificate;
Private collection, Belgium
Photograph of the artwork authenticated by the artist
"Das Boot" (2006) was the response of Stephan Balkenhol (Fritzlar, 1957) to the invitation received by the curator Willy Van den Bussche to participate in the triennial exhibition "Beaufort 2006", an exhibition spread among the cities of the Belgian coast. Here the artist designed a boat-sculpture on the pier of Blankenberge. In his study in Karlsruhe he carved from both sides of the ship’s wooden hull two figures: a female figure lying (starboard) and a male figure lying (port). The figures seem to swim in opposite directions, the man towards the bow, the woman towards the stern; an incredibly poetic metaphor for the human desire to move freely through the water.
The work proposed here is the precious carved and painted wooden model of this extraordinary project realized in the artist’s studio in 2009.
"Work on the Blankenberge pier marks a change in Balkenhol’s work. Inspired by the sea and the life of fishermen, the artist sought an existing ship. A ship that corresponded with the prototype of a ship as in children’s books [...]. Adding the reliefs on the ship’s hull, the artist seems to complete the story of the boat. The work reminds us of a Viking ship. The reliefs on the sides do not represent scenes from a battlefield or coats of arms, but depict anonymous men and women. What about the ship’s crew? Their absent glances, peering into the distance, and their neutral facial features, do not answer this question. Balkenhol simulates the reality, but it balances in fascinating way between reconnaissance and mystery" (Willy Van den Bussche, Catalog of "Beaufort 2006").