The Kunstverein KunstHaus Potsdam presents the first solo exhibition by the steel sculptor Robert Schad in Potsdam. Schad rose to prominence with numerous large-sized sculptures in public spaces in Germany, France and Portugal and is today one of the most recognised and successful steel sculptors in international contemporary art. The exhibition Robert Schad: Rigid Dance presents work by the artist from all his current groups of work alongside some that have been produced specially for the exhibition space.

The leitmotif of Robert Schad’s sculptural work is lines, and for him they are the most elementary means of human expression. Like a draughtsman, he positions them in the room as figures: “My sculptures are therefore less to be understood via formal criteria than via what the line does with the room and within it.”

“For me, steel is at the centre of everything.” Robert Schad’s sculptures are made from square-end solid steel. The steel pieces he separates off are not bent or forged but welded so they are blunt and smoothed. This creates an almost organic shape, a sort of joint. Although the square-end solid steel sections are bound by physical laws, the hovering linearity of the sculptures conceals the weightiness of the material. “Just as a dancer occupies a room, my sculptures “dance on” the relevant locations.”

In the room – whether it is inside or outside, public or private – the linear sculptures enter into entirely different, new relationships: they trace spatial shapes or interrupt them; appear rigid, for the most part however they form movement impulses. All the time, the relationship of the sculpture to the surrounding space, of the figure to its subsurface, are the focus of all considerations. Here, too, therefore FIGUR — GRUND (FIGURE — GROUND), which is the 2022 annual topic of the KunstHaus Potsdam constitutes the thematic framework for the exhibition.

The relationship between figure and ground, body and space is also the focus of MOUVEMENTS: during the opening weekend on 14 and 15 May 2022, Schad’s sculptures will meet the work Double Portrait by choreographer Isabelle Schad. Presented as an ongoing (approx. 2-hour) installation in the KunstHaus Potsdam under the joint title MOUVEMENTS, the physical movements of the dancers Przemek Kaminski and Nir Vidan enter into a dialogue with Robert Schad’s graphic sculptures. MOUVEMENTS will be held in celebration of the Potsdamer Tanztage, the international festival for contemporary dance, and forms the opening of a cooperation between fabrik, the international centre for dance and motion art in Potsdam, and the Kunstverein KunstHaus Potsdam in the year 2022.

In Double Portrait, the two dancers extend into the body of their counterpart, reacting to Schad’s sculptural works with their movements so that a common space arises within the changing interdependencies. The sculptures appear to be in motion despite their structural rigidity and seem to want to lift off despite their physical weightiness. By contrast, the physical movement of the dancers unfolds, which dissolves the rigidity, reacting to movement impulses by the sculptures and passing them on into the room. The choreography Double Portrait is a production by Isabelle Schad, coproduced by HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin and defacto Zagreb.

MOUVEMENTS marks the start of a collaboration between the fabrik Potsdam and the Kunstverein KunstHaus Potsdam during 2022, which will commence with a meeting of contemporary art and dance. More resident artists will be hosted in the exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Potsdam during autumn 2022 as part of this collaboration.


Robert Schad was born in Ravensburg in 1953 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe from 1974 to 1980 under Professor Albrecht von Hancke and Professor Wilhelm Loth. As well as numerous grants and prizes, he was visiting Professor for Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart from 1989 to 1990. Sculptures and drawings by Robert Schad are frequently exhibited internationally, recently for example in the Foundation Museum at Moyland Castle in Bedburg-Hau (2021), in the Gerhard Marcks Haus, Bremen (2020) and in the Richard Haizmann Museum in Niebuell (2019). Schad is particularly well-known for his work in public spaces, currently these are DIX PAR DIX – un parcours de sculptures en Bourgogne/Franche Comté 62 sculptures at 33 locations (2021-2023), FROM PLACE TO PLACE – 60 sculptures in 40 locations in 5 districts in Upper Swabia and at Lake Constance (2019) and DEUX VILLES – TWO CITIES – a cross-border sculpture project in the cities of Metz (F) and Saarlouis (D) (2018). Ever since the 1990s, Robert Schad has engaged in a dialogue between dance and sculpture in collaboration with various dancers and choreographers.

Isabelle Schad was born in Stuttgart in 1970 and studied classical dance in Stuttgart from 1981 to 1990. After being active in various classical ensembles, Schad dedicated herself to contemporary dance, including the Ensemble Ultima Vez in Brussels, which is directed by Wim Vandekeybus. Since 1999, she has created her own choreographic works and projects which take place at the intersection between dance, performance, and visual art and which have been shown in theatres, galleries and at festivals including the Biennale di Venezia – Danza 2016, ImPulsTanz Vienna, Tanz im August Berlin, the International Arts Festival Beijing and Moving in November Helsinki. She is the co-founder of the Good Work artists’ network, which was formed in 2003 as well as the Practicable Collective, which was founded in 2005 and the Wiesen 55 club. In 2019, Isabelle Schad was honoured for her outstanding artistic developments in contemporary dance by the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland.

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