Karl-Heinz DIEGNER

Work

Presentation

Exhibitions

Biography

Contact us


To enter the sculptural world of Karl-Heinz Diegner is to be transported to the heart of the opposed worlds - the never changing permanence of minerals, and the frailty and beauty of human existence. In his hands steatite, alabaster, those deep and creamy elements of complex minerals come to life as ephemeral dreams of a female form.
And jet, how can one say that this former engineer, this big handsome man, produces work that is ephemeral? The subject is youthful and evanescent – but his graceful curves and elongated female forms create classical landscapes of rich colors caressed by natural light which never fades.
How beautifully the dark verdigris hues of steatite give birth to goddesses in his hands: elegantly shaped torsos, solid and monumental and yet never still as each work is pivoted on its plinth – movable at a finger’s touch to catch the light – enticing us to caress a limb a back, in it’s fluidity and density of line. But abstract lines – not for Diegner the female form in total – but the monumentality of a thigh, a bust, a back in «contraposto».
His work in alabaster gives a timeless quality to limbs that resemble wings, to graceful bathers – their simple outlines touching earth with the grace that belies their solidity. Alabaster, that wonderful material of light and translucence becomes a whisper of vulnerability and jet even in stone or marble, the solidity of Diegner’s abstract forms reach out to us from a classical past that launches a new renaissance. Aurore, Naja, Pallas, and Phebus – names to conjure with and totally in unison with their character and with their creator.
Sensitive to the Mediterranean environment in with he now lives, Diegner’s work in bronze reflects the glorious sun. A German, impregnated by his long stay in Brazil, domiciled in his adopted France, his work harmonises angled and curvilinear lines with smooth volumes of rich intensity and jet ethereal delicacy.
His appreciation of the female form, of his subtleties and innocence, of its flamboyance and sexuality is expressed from the very centre of his being. When we experience his work, when we study and dare to touch, his celebration of beauty enters our world and can only make it feel a better place.

Janet Renshaw, Art Historian. Aix-en-Provence, august 2009.


Stone has become flesh
Standing in the doorway, he is tall, speaks with the steady deliberate voice of those who have life’s experience behind them and he has the assurance of those who have traveled the world. Karl-Heinz Diegner was born in Eastern Prussia and has retained his native northern reserve, tinged with southern warmth and an unexpected sense of humor that is almost English in his style. He has lived in Provence for 20 years with his wife , Elisabeth- a painter.

You can find them in Paris, Cabrières d’Avignon or Germany depending their expositions, the seasons and artistic inspirations.
The studio is a mineral zone where sandstone, alabaster, and marble can be found alongside local stones of Menerbes and the nearby village of Taillades. With emotion in his voice, his hands go through the motions of caressing the material, shaping it, polishing it – ‘a carnal act’ says the artist who exalts the female silhouette and feminine curves in each and every one of his sculptures.
The catalogs for his expositions say that ‘the contemporary style of his work results from his distinctly expressed classical and romantic ideals. For Karl-Heinz Diegner shapes and poses are only suggestions, an abstract exchange of force and subtlety that reveals the movement and enhances the gracefulness of bodies.
Stone becomes flesh under the artist’s chisel and the work is born. Polishing brings forth secret glints from noble alabaster, from the delicate veins of steatite, from deep within the stone. At that precise moment, the sculpture is completely revealed for the first time to he who imagined it, designed it, and finally shaped it. Stone and bronze and occasionally clay for the first drafts…the sculptures on show here all have in common that smoothness that incites the hand to follow their contours, ‘living sculptures that you want to touch’, as the artist points out.
A journey around his works, his imaginary, his sensitivity and than … the first and very traditional question that precedes lot of others- ‘Why sculpture? ‘ By nature, certainly ‘, and in his eyes and voice an impression of deep emotion, a pause and then a verbal about-turn- ‘One has to make a living. Engineering school was to my left, Art school was to my right and beckoned me, so I went. Beside, there were more girls there and they were prettier!’
Karl-Heinz Diegner doesn’t have just one school of expression but many- sculpture, photography, literature, and other art forms, as long as they expressed humanity.

During his exhibitions, he likes to surround himself with other artist whose ambitions he shares. Artists and writers like Timolé, Viell, Dumont, Bascher, Pharel, Letort, Salomé, Lacouture…
Suddenly it’s time to leave. The last words comes from one of his brothers in art several years ago, François Nourissier of the Académie Française who said of him’…he has reached that stage in his life where a second life beckons him. Now he embodies it if I may say so; the stone has become flesh…’

Eric Morichaud, editor-in-chief, Journal du Luberon. September 2007