Monday, February 18, 2008

Meet Winni Schaak, Metal Sculptor

We anthropomorphize something when we give it human attributes. The comic strip I do with my wife, featuring talking, civilized animals, is an example.

There is a bulbous water tower near here that has so many vertical supports it looks like it is about to start walking and rampaging through the city. Assigning life powers to architecture calls for a different word, and I don't know it. This is a shame, because it would really help me out with today's subject.

Allow me to introduce my very dear friend Winni Schaak, a native of Hamburg, Germany and an accomplished sculptor and ironworker. Like all far away friends, it is hard to keep in touch and I haven't seen him in years. I decided to use the web to peek in on him, and have discovered his latest work. I love it.

Winni calls them "Kopfkartons," which translates as "head boxes." They transcend the stationary aspect of sculpture in that each piece looks like a different building that is about to start crossing the landscape under its own locomotion. I think part of the appeal for me is that this gives it a cartoonish feel, which is a new sensation after Winni's tradition of serious, deeply thoughtful pieces. This new series reminds me of Dr. Seuss, Krazy Kat, Mike Mulligan's steam shovel and claymation. If a cuckoo clock automata built its own nest, it might look like these.

Illustrations: Some Seuss architecture, Krazy Kat shapes, Mike's machine, and a selection of Winni Schaak Kopfkartons. All rights to the creators.