Matthias Contzen

Image details: Spirits of the North, limestone sculpture by Matthias Contzen, created in 2005 as part of the International Sculpture Symposium held at the CNE. Located on the east lawn of the Enercare Centre

A group of six sculptures from the International Sculpture Symposium held during the annual Canadian National Exhibition in August of 2005 now line the northeast lawn of the Enercare Centre.  The theme for the artistic creation for the symposium was: “Personal experience with nature in the context of Canada’s natural environment and its geographical position.” The objective of the symposium was to initiate artistic and cultural co-operation between sculptors of different background.

Matthias Contzen from Portugal was 1 of 10 artists to participate in the Symposium.  Matthias carved four pillars from limestone, each one measuring 180 cm high and 40 cm wide and evenly spaced together.  The title of the piece is Spirits of the North.  Each pillar is stylized with identical curves carved into the stone.  “I would like to introduce my sculpture not as objects which would be perceived first time by the observer, but as prompts for a dialogue.  The observer should be given a mystery to solve: his/her curiosity and imagination will help lead him/her to a new and sometimes completely subjective meaning.  That who gets involved in this dialogue becomes part of the creative process . . .”

Matthias Contzen was born in 1964 in Aschaffenburg, Germany. He graduated from the European Academy of Fine Arts in Trier sculpture course in 1987 and held his first exhibition in the same year. He subsequently completed an apprenticeship in sculpture in Munich, studied design in Saarbruecken and in 1998 completed his studies at the Master School of Stone Sculpture in Mayen. In the same year Matthias left Germany to live in Portugal where he works as a sculptor.

In 2002 he was awarded the prestigious ‘Premio City Desk’ prize for sculptors.  He has staged 11 solo exhibitions and participated in about 50 joint exhibitions and various art fairs.  In 2007 Matthias became one of the founders of today’s SCULPTURE.FACTORY in Sintra, Portugal.

His sculptures can be found in public places such as Germany, Portugal, Canada, Spain and Dubai as well as in privately commissioned collections in Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Germany, France, Belgium, Canada, England, Sweden and New York.  At present his works are represented at the Galeria Sao Mamede (one of the oldest and renowned Galleries in Portugal).

Matthias says of his work: “Rather than viewing my works passively, I like people to interact with them, the observer should be given a mystery to solve, have their imagination and curiosity stimulated, leading them to a new and often subjective, meaning”. 

For more information on Matthias Contzen and his work please visit the artist's website: Matthias Contzen.

Matthias working on his sculpture at the CNE in 2005