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Becoming an ArtistUrsula von Rydingsvard
Filmed at her Brooklyn studio, artist Ursula von Rydingsvard recounts her family’s journey from German refugee camps during WWII to their difficult early years in Connecticut.
Accompanied by images from her personal archive, von Rydingsvard describes how her family’s struggles still influence her studio practice today.More information and credits
Producer: Ian Forster, Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Mark Mandler & Roger Phenix. Editor: Morgan Riles. Archival Photography Courtesy: Ursula von Rydingsvard & Marbeth. Special Thanks: Andria Morales. Video: © 2012 Art21, Inc. All rights reserved.
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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’d never heard of anything like an artist until I first came to the United States.”
Ursula von Rydingsvard