Ursula von Rydingsvard
Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling on view March 22–July 28, 2019
This landmark exhibition of monumental sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard (b. 1942, Deensen, Germany) illuminates the process by which the artist gives outward visual form to her ideas and emotions. Expressive cedar sculptures are accompanied by poetic explorations in paper pulp, leather, linen, and other organic materials. With an emphasis on her work since 2000, The Contour of Feeling marks the most ambitious presentation of von Rydingsvard’s art in the United States, and her first solo exhibition in Washington, D.C.
The daughter of a woodcutter from a long line of peasant farmers, von Rydingsvard spent several of her early years in the wooden barracks of refugee camps in Germany at the end of World War II. Her works offer subtle hints of biographical, religious, or cultural references, while deliberately remaining abstract and evocative.
Each of the large-scale sculptures involves a labor-intensive, yet intuitive, process that can take nearly a year to complete. Wearing safety gear and wielding heavy machinery, von Rydingsvard and her team saw, slice, stack, glue, and mark the works with graphite before assembling their final forms. Towering vertical structures, sprawling floor-based works, and expansive wall constructions inspire awe and introspection.
Published by The Fabric Workshop and Museum, this exhibition catalog includes photographs of over 25 works, an extensive interview between guest curator Mark Rosenthal and the artist, and an essay by von Rydingsvard titled “Why I Make Art.”
In this episode of the National Endowment for the Arts podcast, von Rydingsvard speaks about The Contour of Feeling, her inspiration and process, and the importance of NEA grants in her four-decade career.
Explore this online playlist that includes interviews with the artist and behind-the-scenes footage of her intensive process.
Download large print versions of the exhibition labels for use in the galleries. Large print labels are also available at the Information Desk in the Great Hall.”
Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling is organized by The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, and guest curator Mark Rosenthal.
Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; Heidi and Tom McWilliams; Agnes Gund; Harvey S. Shipley Miller, the Shipley Miller Foundation; the Arcadia Foundation; Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson; the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation; Katie Adams Schaeffer and Tony Schaeffer; Maja Paumgarten and John Parker; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; ForGood Fund; Henry S. McNeil; Constance H. Williams; Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz; Tony and Lynn Hitschler; and Anonymous Donors.
Presentation of the exhibition at NMWA is made possible by RBC Wealth Management and City National Bank, an anonymous donor, Sue J. Henry and Carter G. Phillips Exhibition Fund, Clara M. Lovett, Share Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Galerie Lelong & Co.