Hans Scheib - Sculptor

written on 08/10/2020
by Candice Gärtner

What if you were born the same year as the GDR? And clearly you’re not interested in that state, all you want to do in your life is art and just art?

Hans Scheib went to the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts so that he could show documentary evidence to the authorities that he was a proper artist. Without it, he could not have dedicated his entire life to art in the GDR.

He always imagined working with bronze, but this dream was impossible to realise in the GDR. The material was just too scarce and outrageously expensive. So he started to work with the material that was available for free: old wooden beams he found on construction sites.

By doing, so Hans Scheib put himself in a unique position: in the ‘70s and ‘80s no German sculptor worked with wood or had thought about painting it. He was the first since medieval times, when holy sculptures in churches were made from this natural material.

He was not aware that, at the beginning of the 20th century, the artist group Die Brücke used wood for carving and printing their engravings because their work was nowhere to be seen in the GDR.

The limitations dictated by the geopolitical situation of the time affected his work, but he found a way to overcome them by always following his very own path.

His inspiration is not drawn from actuality but from mythology, ancient cultures and the creative process by itself. This preserved him from too much persecution, but all he wanted was to see the world and this was just not possible in the GDR.

In 1985 Hans Scheib appliedto emigrate out of GDR with his family and it was almost immediately approved. The first year in West-Berlin was difficult, but his outstanding work quickly made him well known.

He continues using wood as his primal material to date. But the dream of working with bronze never left him and is now a big part of his artistic work.

His delicate sculptures are cast in Italy because knowledge of the complicated process of casting filigree pieces can only be found there.

Today, Hans Scheib is a recognized artist, his work is represented in some of the most important collections of Contemporary Art in Germany and worldwide. His works can also be seen in museums, something he couldn’t imagine happening at the beginning of his career.