Elmar Trenkwalder (*1959) is an illustrator, painter and sculptor; but mainly he is known for his colossal ceramic sculptures. The Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts is showing Trenkwalder’s most monumental work to date on its large terrace. 13 metres long and seven metres high, the work made of fired clay and coloured glazing is assembled from 91 individual pieces. The bluish-green glazing reflects the changes in daylight and highlights the heteromorphic surface of the sculpture. The huge piece resembles an artistically designed façade that can be gazed at and walked through from both sides. Towers and structures with figurine and opulently ornamental forms rise up above the narrow passages, their rhythmic appearance suggesting natural processes, cycles and mythical transformations.

This blend of biomorphic and architectural forms is characteristic of Trenkwalder’s work. Everything in his pieces seems to coalesce, grow, then push away to seek new connections. Even during assembly over the last anniversary weekend, it became apparent just how much this work encourages viewers to interpret forms as symbols and encrypted images.

The artist draws his unique imagery from a reservoir of personal recollections and experiences, allowing unconscious elements to drift to the surface. But Trenkwalder never becomes blunt. Vagueness is his strategy. Trenkwalder’s works seemingly point to forms from different cultures and epochs, yet still they blend with masks, make-believe mythical creatures, fantastical dream sequences and ornamental natural formations.