Ulrich Rückriem planned two simple white exhibition halls which look like straightforward agricultural buildings on the outside for the field behind the Franconian-style, four-sided farmyard of the agricultural museum. Their design is functional and plain, and their roofs are supported by steel structures. The walls are made of lime-sandstone and were built against the steel supports from the inside, thus producing an unbroken white surface. As with the exteriors, Rückriem defined the division of the interiors. Non-supporting walls which are constructed in the same way as the outer walls were built to form rectangular and square rooms of varying sizes. Rückriem then chose objects which, in his view, create an ideal relationship between the interior and the sculpture.

A basic shape is decided upon from stones which Rückriem finds in various quarries. These are mostly unworked, ashlar-shaped pieces. Rückriem then describes the basic shape as a freestanding stele, cube or disc or as a wall relief or floor relief. Once a stone has been chosen and the basic shape decided upon, he draws a design according to which the “raw” stone is to be worked in the sawmill. These drawings are a kind of set of instructions, in which every means of working the stone is precisely stipulated, whether this be splitting or cutting. The dividing up of the stone takes place in accordance with strict architectural principles. Finally, the stone is reassembled into its original shape.

The neutral background and the consistent absence of explanatory notices or a prescribed route ensure that there are no distractions for visitors. They move between the sculptures, or sometimes within an installation, and are invited to focus their attention on the material, on the way the stones have been worked and on the structure.

Kathrin Wappenschmidt