Ekkehard Altenburger studied sculpture at the University of the Arts, Bremen, Germany and Edinburgh College of art in Scotland. He graduated in 1999 with an MA from Chelsea College of Art (University of the Arts) in London. Prior to his academic studies, he worked as a master mason at the Gothic Cathedral of Schwabisch Gmund in South Germany. In 2000, he established his studio at APT studios in London, where he worked successfully as a contemporary sculptor.
He has been a guest lecturer at Canterbury College of Art and Kingston College and has taught internationally as guest Professor at the University of the Arts, Bremen and Saima University of Applied Sciences, Finland. Altenburger was a resident artist at the Sculpture Space in Utica/NY in 2005 and had a research residency at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences in 2015. He has been appointed as Assistant Professor of Sculpture in Academy of Visual Arts, HKBU in January 2017.
Architecture has always influenced his work, which was the main reason for moving to London, to develop a practice very much inspired by the city that constantly inspires, challenges and informs his work. Meeting and filming the then 94-year-old Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 2001 in his Office at the Copacabana left a lasting influence.
His work explores the physical balance of the built environment, using architectural references as well as sculptural volumes of physical material. This balance is also represented in the relationship between form and surface of a sculpture. Altenburger often uses texture and colour to manipulate surfaces, adding a further layer of information to a sculptural form.
Altenburger usually works in heavy materials, mainly steel and stone. Due to the scale of his works, Altenburger regularly works with quarries and Granite / Marble factories as well as metal fabricators throughout Europe and has excellent knowledge about current and traditional production methods in sculpture. Over the past decade, he extended his work into prints and drawings on paper, which accompany his sculptural works.
Many of his productions are in the public domain; he has developed site-specific sculptural works and large-scale urban placemaking projects both in the UK as well as mainland Europe and Central America.
Examples of Works in public domain, public and private collections include:
Thoughts in a Banked curve, Volkswagen Financial Services UK (2016)
House for a Gordian Knot, University of Nottingham UK (2014)
Sophrosyne I, Harlow Arts Trust UK (2010)
Sophrosyne II, Guatemala City, Museum of Contemporary Art, Guatemala (2010)
Negative Falls with Thames stone, Grosvenor Waterside London Chelsea&Westminster UK (2007- 2010)
Give & Take, Schoepfheim/ Lucerne (Switzerland) (2007)
Altenburger has exhibited his work in exhibitions and trade fairs throughout the UK and beyond. Recent shows include the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London (2016); Sculpture in the City, the City of London (2015-16); LARES, Saimaa University, Lappeenranta Finland (2015); SWITCH, Pulchri Gallery Den Haag NL (2014); A Change of Heart, Royal Botanic Gardens, Leicester University and Richard Attenborough Centre (2013); Sculpture at Glyndebourne Opera, Glyndebourne (2011) and Museum Rehmann (Switzerland) (2011).
– Corporate mentality- Alexandra Mir and John Kelsey, 2003 (ISBN 0-9711193-1-7)
– Sculpture space (The book), Utica, New York, 2005 (ISBN 97809795596902)
– Highjack Reality, Deptford X, London 2008 (ISBN 978-0-9547071-2-5)
– Jerwood drawing prize, London, 2009 ( ISBN 978-0-9563570-0-7 JCF)
– Grosvenor Waterside, Cultural Placemaking (by Jean Wainwright, UCA) produced by FUTURECITIES, 2011 (ISBN 978-0-9565690-0-4)
– Art/Laser/Lares, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences, 2015 (ISBN 978-952-7055-21-2)
– Nanotecture, Phaidon (small-scale architecture) (ISBN 9780714870601)
2015 Laser art residency, Saimaa University of Applied Sciences, Finland
2005 Sculpture Space (New York / Utica) residency programme
2003 London Visual Arts grant
2002 Royal Society of British Sculptors Bursary award
2000/2001 Year of the artist residency programme /London
1999 Video award Bremen 1999
1998/1999 DAAD (German Academic Exchange programme) award Bonn/London
All my teaching is informed by 35 years of constant learning. A trained craftsman, combined with nine years of academic education in three different countries and two decades of working as a practising artist in London give me a solid platform to base my teaching on. Curiosity and the willingness to constantly evolve as an artist is essential to both teacher and student. Sculpture now is at an interesting crossroads, with materials and methods constantly evolving, students will be challenged to develop their own artistic language based on traditional as well as contemporary skills and technologies. Sculptors and architects have shaped our urban environs, and I will encourage students to become an active part in a discourse as to how humans will shape both the cultural as well as the urban landscape in the future.