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Ursula von Rydingsvard in "Ecology"

Ursula von Rydingsvard uses sculpture, in part, as a means to express the memories of her childhood. “I grew up…in the post-World War II refugee camps for Polish people in Germany…We stayed in wooden barracks…raw wooden floors, raw wooden walls and raw wooden ceilings… so somewhere in my blood I’m dipping into that source,” she says.

Von Rydingsvard’s studio is filled with massive cedar sculptures, which she painstakingly constructs layer by layer. The end result is a complex and unpredictable surface for viewers to explore and experience. “My whole cedar studio is loaded with pieces that are unfinished and I need all of those things in my environment to feed me, to give me always options.”

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Ursula von Rydingsvard

Ursula von Rydingsvard’s massive sculptures reveal the trace of the human hand and resemble wooden bowls, tools, and walls that seem to echo the artist’s family heritage in pre-industrial Poland before World War II. She builds towering cedar structures, creating an intricate network of individual beams and sensuous, puzzle-like surfaces. While abstract at its core, von Rydingsvard’s work takes visual cues from the landscape, the human body, and utilitarian objects—such as the artist’s collection of household vessels—and demonstrates an interest in the point where the man-made meets nature.

“I grew up in the post-World War II refugee camps for Polish people in Germany… We stayed in wooden barracks—raw wooden floors, raw wooden walls and raw wooden ceilings… So somewhere in my blood I’m dipping into that source.”

Ursula von Rydingsvard

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