Angela Glajcar
(Germany, b. 1970)

Born in Mainz, Germany, Angela Glajcar studied sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nuremberg from 1991 to 1998. Glajcar's work embodies sculpture and installation, it examines the way in which space is experienced using a material that is fragile and light. In the act of ripping and perforating a material that is traditionally used as a two-dimensional support, Glajcar gives paper a strong sculptural presence. Terforation is the title of Angela Glajcar's famous cubic pieces. The staggered arrangement of the vertically hung series of sheets of white paper, with torn edges, produces cave-like recessions. These extend into the depth of the sculpture. The sharp ridges and deep caverns gives viewer a fascinating room of harmony and silence. Glajcar has exhibited extensively and been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including Studio Award of the Kunststiftung Erich Hauser, the Asterstein scholarship in 1999 and Vordemberge Gildewart Award in 2004. Glajcar's works have been showcased in various prominent public art exhibitions, including Cologne Cathedral, the Frankfurt Department of Culture, the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Mainz Gutenberg Museum. Permanent collections of Glajcar's works can be found at the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art in the United States, the Wiesbaden Museum in Germany, the Mainz Arts and Sciences Center in Germany, and the Hanten Schmidt collection in Austria.

The 11th From Lausanne to Beijing Fiber Art Biennale Excellence Award

National Museum Of Women In The Arts (NMWA) PAPER ROUTES

Museum Schloss Burgau GEHEIMNIS PAPIER Oct.18-Nov.18, 2020

Glajcar's work embodies sculpture and installation; it examines the way in which space is experienced using a material that is fragile and light. In the act of ripping and perforating a material that is traditionally used as a two-dimensional support, Glajcar gives paper a strong sculptural presence. Her paper sculptures mostly hang, floating in the air. They seem light and delicate, however they show a strong sculptural presence. Terforation is the title of Angela Glajcar's cubic pieces. The staggered arrangement of the vertically hung series of sheets of white paper, with torn edges, produces cave-like recessions. These extend into the depth of the sculpture. The sharp ridges and deep caverns evoke associations with glacial or rock formations while light and shadow fall on the surface of the sheets, enlivening the interior of the oblong structure. The viewer is led into fascinating rooms of harmony and silence.

In the history of painting, paper is typically used as a medium, and artworks on paper are often viewed from a flat perspective, creating fictional perspectives. Paper can also be used as a material for sculpture. Picasso, for instance, cleverly used paper combined with line drawings to create three-dimensional sculptures, as seen in his work "Head of a Woman, Mougins" (1962). Angela Glajcar directly utilizes paper as a sculptural material, challenging traditional notions of its softness and imbuing it with changes in light and shadow, spatial rhythm, and weight.

In the realm of sculpture, Minimalism seeks to purify forms or colors. Artist Donald Clarence Judd (1928-1994) introduced the concept of "Specific Object" in 1965, reducing the influence of form or color to the utmost limit. The artwork is neither painting nor sculpture but a specific object, presenting the work in the present moment of "here and now." Glajcar's works, using a single material and monochromatic paper, emphasize the purity of paper. She further subverts this purity, introducing more variations in form and space, creating a dramatic effect for viewers.

Comparing this to spatial artist Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), who made incisions on canvas in works like "Concetto Spaziale, Attesa" (1965), attempts to break the boundaries between flat painting and the space beyond the frame. This challenges viewers to reconsider the construction, imagination, and reimagining of "painting-sculpture-space." Glajcar's sculptures bring an extension and rhythm of "hollowness" to viewers. Through precise tearing of voids, light enters the cavities, allowing viewers to perceive multiple spaces constructed by light and shadow, opening up imaginations of the fourth dimension. The subversion of paper, the tearing of voids, and the construction imply a kind of destructiveness, leaving marks in real space.

German art historian and director of the Wolfsburg Art Museum, Andreas Beitin, believes that Angela Glajcar's works possess profound contemplation. She presents opposing aspects of human existence: dynamic and static, beauty and destruction, brightness and heaviness, rhythm, and stillness. Due to the inherent nature of paper, fragile yet resilient, it is intriguing to think that the books and sheets we typically peruse can be suspended high in the air, floating freely. The vortex-like voids created by tearing resemble geometric tunnels that extend endlessly, reminiscent of the serrated ridges on glaciers or rock layers and deep caves.

Angela Glajcar's works delve into our lived spaces, environments, and showcase the multifaceted nature of "paper" in terms of light, movement, time, and sound—so robust yet so liberating. Through the subversion and construction of paper, her artworks exceed all imaginable boundaries of reality.

2009-072 Terforation (space), 2009. Paper, structural steelwork.

2019-035 Terforation In-site installation, 2019. 300g torn paper, Bracket made of metal. 500 x 1200 x 250 cm,

Solo Exhibitions

2022 Torn space ,Bluerider Art Shanghai (CHN)
2022 Scale Matters,Karin Weber Gallery Hong Kong (CHN)
2021 Angela Glajcar : “Papier fâché” ,Stream Art Gallery, Brussels (BE)
2021 Scale Matters 2021-006, Site specific installations, private collection, Wien (AUT)
2020 my silence is my self defense, K.Oss Gallery, Detroit (USA)
2020 Terforation, Bluerider Gallery, Taipeh (TWN)
2020 we are talking about the space between us, Galerie Martin Kudlek, Köln (DE)
2019 Terforation, Galerie Philippe David, Zürich (CH)
2019 blanco y nero, Galerie Marita Segovia, Madrid (ES)
2019 snowblind, Galerie Nanna Preußners, Hamburg (DE)
2019 torn space, Galerie Utermann, Dortmund (DE)
2018 carte blanche, Les 3 Cha centre d‘art, Châteaugiron (Fr)
2018 Plateau München, Heitsch Gallery, München (DE)
2018 Luce e Spazio, MEB Arte Studio, Borgomanero (IT)
2017 Terforation 2.0, Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden (DE)
2017 Layers, Heitsch Gallery, München (DE)
2017 Synthesis, Bromer Kunst, Roggwil (CH)
2016 sensazioni di carta, Galerie Antonella Cattani Contemporary, Bolzano (IT)
2016 terra incognita, Kunstverein Coburg und St. Augustin, Coburg (DE)
2015 Papier ist für die Ewigkeit, Gutenberg-Museum, Mainz (DE)
2015 Weiß ist das neue Schwarz, Heitsch Gallery, München (DE)
2015 white glass, Diana Lowenstein Gallery, Miami (USA)
2015 Terforation, MOCA Jacksonville, Jacksonville (USA)
2015 white, Andipa Gallery, Londen (UK)
2015 Terforation, Galerie Nanna Preußners, Hamburg (DE)
2015 within the light, Southwark Cathedral, London (UK)
2014 white glass, Galerie Kudlek, Köln (DE)
2014 Angela Glajcar Escultura, Espacio Micus Arte Contemporáneo, Ibiza (ES)
2014 summer, Hollis Taggart, New York (USA)
2014 weiss, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel (DE)
2013 Galerie Nusser & Baumgart, München (DE)
2013 Terforation, Andipa Gallery, London (UK)
2013 Galerie Löhrl, Mönchengladbach (DE)
2013 Galerie Antonella Cattani contemporary art, Bolzano (IT)
2012 pure paper, Kunstverein Münsterland, Coesfeld (DE)
2012 paper and light, Diana Lowenstein Gallery, Miami (USA)
2011 Metall Papier Komplementär, Emsdettener Kunstverein, Emsdetten (DE)
2011 the light within, KunstKulturKirche Allerheiligen, Frankfurt a.M. (DE)
2011 Terforation (rising), KN Studio, Verona (IT)
2011 Curalium, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester (USA)
2010 Carta Spaziale, Grossetti Arte Contemporanea, Milano (IT)
2010 Ad Id Temporis, Sint-Anna-ten-Drieënkerk, Antwerpen (BE)
2009 innen–raum–außen, Galerie Löhrl, Mönchengladbach (DE)
2009 Carta Spaziale, Associazione Margherita Ripamonti, Como (IT)
2009 Ad Tempus, Johanniskirche, Hanau (DE)
2009 Ad Lucem, Kunst-Station Sankt Peter, Köln (DE)
2009 Ge-rissen, Österreichisches Papiermachermuseum, Steyrermühl (AT)
2009 Papierwelten, Kunstverein Hof, Hof (DE)
2009 Arsis, KunstRaum Hüll, Drochtersen-Hüll (DE)
2009 Angela Glajcar Skulpturen, C. Wichtendahl Galerie, Berlin (DE)
2009 Papierwelten, Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, Ludwigshafen (DE)
2009 Monolog | Dialog, Essenheimer Kunstverein, Ingelheim (DE)
2008 secret, Galerie Maurer, Frankfurt a.M. (DE)
2008 Sculptures Célestes, Abbaye d‘Alspach, Kaysersberg (FR)
2008 Angela Glajcar Papier – Dieter Kränzlein Stein, Galerie Roland Aphold, Allschwil-Basel (CH)
2008 Angela Glajcar & Nele Waldert – Skulpturen und Objekte, Galerie Peters-Barenbrock, Ahrenshoop (DE)
2008 Dialogue Poétique, Kunst Forum D‘Art, Vaudrémont (FR)
2008 inside – outside, Kunstverein Siegen, Siegen (DE)
2008 Papier | Schatten – Kunst im Lichthof, Stora Enso Maxau GmbH, Wörth (DE)
2008 Papier lesen, Landesbibliothek, Speyer (DE)
2007 Tänze im Raum – Papierskulpturen und Kunststoffinstallationen, Südwestrundfunk, Mainz (DE)
2007 Angela Glajcar | Lichtblick, Kunstverein Heidenheim, Heidenheim (DE) leichte – schwere. 2007 Angela Glajcar Papierskulpturen, Galerie Maurer, Frankfurt
a.M. (DE)
2007 Angela Glajcar, Galerie von Waldenburg, Waldenburg (DE)
2006 Angela Glajcar Skulpturale Papierobjekte und Installationen, Galerie B. Haasner, Wiesbaden (DE)
2006 Angela Glajcar Terforation, C. Wichtendahl Galerie, Berlin (DE)
2006 Contrarius – Lichtschatten, Schloss Charlottenburg Berlin, Berlin (DE), P 15
2006 Angela Glajcar Papierskulpturen, Up Art Galerie, Neustadt-Haardt (DE)
2006 Terforation, Nassauische Sparkasse, Wiesbaden (DE)
2006 Angela Glajcar Papierarbeiten, Kunstverein Trier Junge Kunst, Trier (DE)
2005 Angela Glajcar Contrarius, C. Wichtendahl Galerie, Berlin (DE)
2005 Angela Glajcar Contrarius, Theater Kleines Haus, Mainz (DE)
2005 Stadtkünstlerin Spaichingen 2005, Forschner-Gebäude, Spaichingen (DE)
2005 Angela Glajcar Papierinstallationen, Galerie Kunsthalle Koblenz, Koblenz (DE)
2004 Glajcar | Landau Malerei und Skulptur, Landtag RLP, Mainz (DE)
2004 Angela Glajcar Contrarius, Kunstverein Friedberg, Friedberg (DE)
2003 Angela Glajcar Skulpturen und Wandobjekte, Galerie B. Haasner, Wiesbaden (DE)
2002 Korrespondenz im Raum, Kunstverein Speyer, Speyer (DE)
2002 Angela Glajcar Zonta Kunstpreis 2002, Kulturschmiede, Nieder-Olm (DE)
2001 Angela Glajcar Skulpturen, Schloss Waldthausen, Mainz (DE)
2000 Angela Glajcar Skulpturen in Holz und Stahl, Galerie Haus Eichenmüller, Lemgo (DE)
2000 Noyane Holzskulpturen 1999/2000 Angela Glajcar, Haus Metternich, Koblenz (DE), P 2
2000 Angela Glajcar Skulpturen in Holz und Stahl, Galerie Eva Tent, Koblenz (DE)
2000 Skulpturenausstellung mit Werken von Angela Glajcar, Wernerkapelle, Bacharach (DE)

Group Exhibitions

2023 Homeland Universe, Bluerider ART, London (UK)
2022 Cut, Torn and Folded,Galerie Martin Kudlek Köln (DE)
2022 The Abstract Landscape,Galerie Kellermann Düsseldorf (DE)
2022 Arte sobre papel,Galeria Marita Segovia, Madrid (ES
2022 Art Düsseldorf 2022,Galerie Löhrl (DE) // Galerie Utermann (DE)
2022 Miniartextil, Arte & Arte,M4 Mairie de Montrouge (FR)
2022 International Paper Biennale, Changchun (CHN)
2021 Lunar Sonata,Hanji Works and Contemporary Art,Jeonbuk Museum of Art South Korea (KOR)
2021 Papier im Raum – Spatial Paper, Haus des Papiers, Berlin (DE)
2021 Vier Elemente,Galerie Löhrl, Mönchengladbach (DE)
2021 The Sensible Practice, Galeria Antonella Cattani Contemporary Art, Bozen (IT)
2021 ARTE SOBRE PAPEL,Galeria Marita Segovia, Madrid (ES)
2020 paper routes – women to watch 2020, NMWA National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington (USA)
2020 Künstlerinnen in der Bochumer Kunstsammlung, Kunstmuseum Bochum (DE)
2020 Geheimnis Papier, Museum Schloss Burgau, Düren (DE)
2019 one if by land, Powerlong Museum, Shanghai (CHN)
2019 Cheongju Craft Biennale 2019, Cheongju (KOR)
2019 Prospect, Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah (U.A.E.)
2018 weiss, Galerie Sebastian Fath, Mannheim (DE)
2017 CODA Paper Art, CODA Museum, Apeldoorn (NL)
2017 in the absense of color, Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York (USA)
2017 Bild | Skulptur, Galerie Bechter Kastowsky, Wien (AUT)
2017 dark, liquid. , Kunstverein Tiergarten in der Galerie Nord, Berlin (DE)
2016 schwarz weiss, Galerie Löhrl, Mönchengladbach (DE)
2016 new masters vs modern masters, Heitsch Gallery, München (DE)
2016 shifting surfaces, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong (CHN)
2015 a touch of glass, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong (CHN)
2015 konkret mehr Raum!, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Osnabrück (DE)
2014 white sensation, Galerie Nanna Preußners, Hamburg (DE)
2014 25th anniversary show, Diana Lowenstein Gallery, Miami (USA)
2014 se dico aria, caleidoscopio, Festival della Arti, Camerano (IT)
2014 impressoni astratte, Museion Bozen, Bolzano (IT)
2013 On the Edge, Cheryl Hazan Gallery, New York (USA)
2013 Zwischen Himmel und Erde, Galerie Martin Kudlek, Köln (DE)
2013 In Between, Museum Kasteel van Gaasbeek, Lennik (BE))
2012 Andipa Gallery, London (UK) Papiergewisper, Galerie Spielvogel, München (DE)
2012 Arbeiten aus Papier, Galerie Splettstößer, Kaarst (DE)
2012 just paper, Kunstverein Marburg, Marburg (DE)
2012 Papierarbeiten 3, Galerie Maurer, Frankfurt a.M. (DE)
2012 oltre l‘attimo, Grossetti Arte Contemporanea, Milano (IT)
2012 Künstlerfreunde, Kunstverein Speyer, Speyer (DE)
2011 terra incognita. Weltbilder – Welterfahrungen, ALTANA Galerie, Dresden (DE)
2011 Papier=Kunst 7, Neuer Kunstverein Aschaffenburg, Aschaffenburg (DE)
2011 my collection 1916 | 2011, Grossetti Arte Contemporanea, Milano (IT)
2011 Schönheit und Natur, Wasserstandsturm, Bingen (DE)
2011 Vivere e pensare in carta e cartone: tra arte e Design, Museo Diocesano Milano, Milano (IT)
2011 30 Jahre Galerie Löhrl in Mönchengladbach, Galerie Löhrl, Mönchengladbach (DE)
2010 Sammlung Dellwing Speyer, Städtische Galerie, Speyer (DE), P 31
2010 white meditation room, Grossetti Arte Contemporanea, Milano (IT)
2010 Papierarbeiten 2, Galerie Maurer, Frankfurt a.M. (DE)
2010 miniartextil, San Francesco, Como (IT)
2010 Regionale 2010, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen (DE)
2010 sans papier – sons papier, Politecnico di Milano, Milano (IT)
2010 paperworks, C. Wichtendahl Galerie, Berlin (DE)
2009 Collagen. Sammeln, Kunstverein Augsburg, Augsburg (DE)
2009 Papierarbeiten, Galerie Maurer, Frankfurt a.M. (DE)
2009 all about light, C. Wichtendahl Galerie, Berlin (DE)
2009 Qui é altrove, Fondazione Malvina Menegaz, Castelbasso (IT)
2009 Papierobjekte, Haus der Modernen Kunst, Staufen-Grunern (DE)
2009 focus, Grossetti Arte Contemporanea, Milano (IT)
2008 Papierkunstjahr, Buchladen im Roten Haus, Titisee-Neustadt (DE)
2008 Open Air 19. Skulpturenausstellung der Darmstädter Sezession, Ziegelhütte, Darmstadt (DE) 2008 Exposición Colectiva, Galeria Marita Segovia, Madrid (ES)
2008 Holland Papier Biennale 2008, Museum Rijswijk und CODA Apeldoorn, Rijswijk und Apeldoorn (NL)
2008 Papier und Raum, Galerie Thomas, München (DE)
2007 Geometrisk Abstraktion XXVI, Konstruktiv Tendens, Stockholm (SE)
2007 Kunst im Schloss, Schloss Wertingen, Wertingen (DE)
2007 Schnitt | Riss, C. Wichtendahl Galerie, Berlin (DE) plus.
2007 Stipendiatinnen und Stipendiaten der Stiftung Vordemberge-Gildewart 1994–2007, Museum Wiesbaden und Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden (DE)
2007 Faszination Papier, Kunstverein Nördlingen, Nördlingen (DE)
2007 schwebend hovering, Galerie Dorothea van der Koelen, Mainz (DE)
2006 Papierarbeiten – Paperworks, C. Wichtendahl Galerie, Berlin (DE)
2006 Raumtäuschungen, Kahnweilerhaus, Rockenhausen (DE)
2005 Papier, Künstlerverein Walkmühle, Wiesbaden (DE)
2005 20 Jahre Galerie B. Haasner, Wiesbaden (DE)
2005 60 Jahre Pfälzische Sezession, Städtische Galerie Speyer und Landesvertretung Rheinland-Pfalz, Speyer, Berlin (DE)
2005 Papier=Kunst 5, Neuer Kunstverein Aschaffenburg, Aschaffenburg (DE)
2005 Junge Rheinland-Pfälzer Künstlerinnen und Künstler – Emy-Roeder-Preis 2005, Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, Ludwigshafen (DE)
2004 Sinn_Flut, Essenheimer Kunstverein, Ingelheim (DE)
2004 Gutsherrinnen, Frauenmuseum Bonn, Bonn (DE)
2003 Junge Rheinland-Pfälzer Künstlerinnen und Künstler – Emy-Roeder-Preis 2003, Wilhelm-
Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen (DE)
2003 Grafik – Malerei – Plastik, Galerie B. Haasner, Wiesbaden (DE)
2003 Förderpreis der Stadt Mainz für Bildende Kunst 2003 – Ausstellung der
2003 Kandidatinnen und Kandidaten, Galerie der Stadt Mainz im Brückenturm, Mainz (DE)
2001 Drei starke Frauen, Kunstverein Bad Dürkheim, Bad Dürkheim (DE)
2001 Form wofür – what for, Pegnitzlofts, Nürnberg (DE)
2000 Gastspiel Darmstädter Sezession, Ziegelhütte, Darmstadt (DE)
2000 Mainzer Skulpturenpark, Volkspark, Mainz (DE)


1998 Workshop Prize of the Kunststiftung Erich Hauser
1999-2000 Asterstein scholarship of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate
2001-2002 project scholarship “Correspondence in Space”
2001-2002 Bavarian Ministry of Culture
2002 Zonta Art Award Mainz
2004 Vordemberge Gildewart Fellowship
2005 Emy Roeder Prize
2006 Phoenix Art Award
2010 Audience Award of the Regionale in the Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen
2014-2015 city ​​printer Mainz
2021 Paper Art Award 2021, Haus des Papiers Berlin

Angela Glajcar’s Paper Installations – a Synthesis of Opposites

Andreas Beitin

The paper installations by the sculptor Angela Glajcar represent an extraordinary position due to her innovative use of paper as a material, the works’ expansive scope and the resulting aesthetics. In her distinct way, Glajcar demonstrates that paper is not only light and fragile, but can also be very heavy and robust. With her works, she provides viewers with an immediate perception of these diametrically opposed characteristics of the material.

As a sculptor, Angela Glajcar began by working with materials such as steel and wood (1997-001 intermittently until 2006-028). However, she has mainly used paper as her raw material for many years now, and has recently also begun to use glass fabric (2010-083, 2011-009). Paper as a material, which remains the material of choice for her installations, has a special meaning for her due to its ability to absorb the ambient light and accentuate its various hues. This is why Angela Glajcar predominantly uses white paper; she “has no need of coloured material.”1 The artist is fascinated by the presence a seemingly light material such as paper can have, when long sheets or great stacks of it dominate its environment. This is why working on-site is the most important part in the creation of her works. Her intuitive reaction to the space, its proportions and lighting conditions whilst negotiating the architectural volumes, and also the reaction to and the surmounting of any disruptive factors that may be present at the given location are decisive aspects during the creation of her installations. Occasionally, the artist is not confronted with a white cube, but with spaces that are not museums, but multi-functional, and which often serve other purposes than that of presenting art, such as churches (e.g. 2009-072, 2010-022, 2011-072) or banks. Although Angela Glajcar prepares for her monumental sculptures and installations by making a small-scale model and by going through various possibilities of how to set them up in her studio, it is ultimately the phase of the site-specific installation when the sculpture takes its final shape. When working on an installation, the artist is particularly fascinated by the changes the paper undergoes, for example when reacting to the ambient humidity: the paper curls and buckles, changes its surface feel and thus reveals its transience. It is precisely the finite nature of paper that keeps Angela Glajcar returning to the material. She is not interested in art’s claim to eternity.

Originally, paper was the material used by graphic artists. Ever since it replaced the far more expensive parchment at the beginning of the modern age it has made a unique, triumphant advance across the globe. As early as 1620, the British philosopher Francis Bacon in his True Directions Concerning The Interpretation Of Nature enthused: “A singular instance of art is paper, a thing exceedingly common. [...] Paper [is] a substance that may be cut or torn; so that it imitates and almost rivals the skin or membrane of an animal, the leaf of a vegetable, and the like pieces of nature’s workmanship. For it is neither brittle like glass, nor woven as cloth; but is in fibers, not distinct threads, just like natural materials; so that among artificial materials you will hardly find anything similar; but it is altogether singular.”2

Starting with the early days of Modernism, paper began to be used in painting, too – be it in the form of collages or for actual paintings. Early instances of paper used for sculpture occur at the beginning of the 20th century, for example with Pablo Picasso’s sculptures from the 1910s onwards, made of paper and cardboard. He even had some of his paper sculptures re-cut in tin to give them greater durability. One of the fascinating aspects of paper for Angela Glajcar is the fact that most people attribute properties to it that are only part of the story, as it were. It is not only light and fragile, for example, but it can also be heavy and robust. Consequently, the artist frequently uses heavy paper weighing up to 800 g/m2 (e.g. 2010-026), which is almost ten times the weight of regular printer paper.

Angela Glajcar’s use of long sheets of paper for installations clearly references painting, despite its enormous scale. Thus, her oeuvre encompasses a constant material and conceptual synthesis of the realms of two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality, of painting and sculpture, and in a wider sense, of the sphere of illusion associated with painting and the realm of facts and reality inherent in material and substance.

On this note, permit me to indulge in a brief detour via art history: At the beginning of the 20th century, art experienced a fundamental paradigm shift. The actual revolution in visual aesthetics did not, however, merely consist of the transition from concrete to abstract painting – for artists still worked quite traditionally with paint and canvas – but of the change from illusionist art to representative art.

Whilst for example light in painting had been rendered for centuries by means of white or yellow paint, the 1920s saw a change towards artists using light itself as a concrete material in art. The use of actual light in the visual arts was preceded by an increase in the range of materials used in painting.

As early as the 1910s, light-reflecting metals were used in painting, although these still depicted light indirectly, that is, passively. A painting by Gino Severini from 1913 can be considered as one of the key works of this development. The abstract painting entitled Dancer + Sea = Bouquet was largely painted with paint, but at its lower section Severini used light-reflecting aluminium. The development of modern materials such as acrylic glass at the beginning of the 20th century has also promoted the actual use of light in art. For example, constructivist and concrete artists have combined it with the most diverse materials. This interest not only in the use of the latest technical materials but also in the use of everyday materials such as paper, emerging at first sporadically in the 1910s, and then more frequently in the 1920s, paved the way from canvas paintings to material paintings. After the Second World War, Italy in particular became the scene of intensive and varied approaches to the material discourse. The artist and theoretician Enrico Prampolini, for example, in 1944 demanded a “polymaterial art,” intended to “replace painted reality in its entirety by the reality of the material,” in order to “drive art to its most extreme consequences, and to invoke the emotional and evocative value of the materials for its rhythmic-spatial play.”3 The vibration of the materialised surface up to what can almost be described as its violent breach or destruction, as seen, for example, in the works of Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, and also Agostino Bonalumi, Gianni Colombo and Agenore Fabbri, has dominated the artistic discourse in Italy since 1950. This historical facticity may serve in part to explain why Angela Glajcar’s works are particularly appreciated in Italy.

Angela Glajcar, too, engages in a destruction of the material by producing holes by means of ripping the paper sheets. The destruction of the form of the originally plane, undamaged paper represents a historical reference to the practice of iconoclasm, that is, the destruction of the image. In this case, the “image” of the originally whole, undamaged material is paper. The monochrome image of paper to be interpreted is partly, never wholly torn by Angela Glajcar, and always disturbed and destroyed. On this artistic process the cultural philosopher Boris Groys comments quite generally that “most Modernist paintings have been produced by means of iconoclasm,” for they were “be it symbolically or in reality – sawn apart, cut, fragmented, pierced, stabbed.”4 This is the art historical background that represents the substrate for Glajcar’s works. It is also a position which dovetails neatly with the transience of paper and the artist’s critical stance with regard to the claim for eternity of some works of art.

One of the major artists applying iconoclastic practices to his work was Lucio Fontana, whom we already mentioned above. Whereas he pierced and perforated his canvases from the late 1940s onwards in order to overcome the materiality of two-dimensionality and achieve infinite space, in Angela Glajcar’s works two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality, materiality and immateriality are not mutually exclusive but exist simultaneously – indeed, are their reciprocal constituents. While the torn edges that result from tearing the holes emphasise the materiality of the remaining paper, the missing paper is at the same time documented, not concealed, by the gaps.

Eventually it comes down to the philosophical dialectics of illusion – in the sense of what is not (here: the holes) – and what is (here: the paper). Philosophically speaking, the perception of non- reality or illusion has always varied throughout the cultural history of the Western world, depending on the time period. Plato – the quintessence of his allegory of the cave springs to mind – condemned all that is illusory, because it stands in the way of truth, or, more precisely: the knowledge of truth. The young Friedrich Nietzsche, in contrast, glorified all that is illusionary, for in non-reality, in illusion, he saw a basic prerequisite for human existence.5 Finally, Theodor W. Adorno in the middle of the 20th century did not conceive illusion and truth as mutually exclusive opposites, but emphasised their mutual dependence, for truth could only be defined through being differentiated from illusion.6 Along these lines, the works of Angela Glajcar stress the materiality of paper precisely through the absence of some of it. In addition, Glajcar strips the sheets of paper of their property as industrially mass-produced objects and, by ripping and tearing, turns them into individual works of art.

Absence is a key term that applies, for example, to the artist’s large installations Ad lucem (2009- 072) and Arsis (2009-001, 2009-073, 2009-085), as well as to her Blocs (e.g. 2009-055, 2009-056, 2009-087): the absence of material that simul-taneously serves to increase knowledge, for it is a “space of the visual” as well as a “space of the thinkable” – to use Plato’s words once again.

7 It is the void, the empty space, whose intellectual comprehension at a physical, biological, philosophical and also at an artistic level has a long and varied tradition. Almost like a paradigm, the constructed void or emptiness, the blank, is a recurring theme of 20th century art, from Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square (1915), Ad Reinhardt’s monochrome black paintings, Yves Klein’s Leap into the void (1960) up to today. The constructed void is replaced by the conceptual void. In Glajcar’s case, we are confronted by a sculptural void. Not for her the horror vacui. Similar to how a sculptor removes unnecessary, unrequired material from a wooden or marble block, Glajcar rips off paper to produce an empty space – production by means of reduction.

Paradoxically, this is a produced void. In today’s world, overwhelmed by the oft-quoted torrents of images, this represents an almost provocative position, subjecting the viewers to a double-negative, a two-fold void. For on the one hand, the large paper installations of Angela Glajcar mostly consist of blank paper or sheets, which are then also torn and ripped and thus presented as fragments adjoining the empty spaces. However, the void can be a useful calibration instrument, calming the viewer’s gaze, directing it to what is essential and thus evoking a focused way of seeing. Of particular interest in this context are several paper installations from 2004 to 2005, where Glajcar made use of sheets of paper that are white on one side and painted black on the reverse (e.g. 2004-001, 2004-015, 2005-005, 2005-046). Here, the principle of materiality and immateriality is subjected to a fresh artistic scrutiny, for the material is negated by the light-absorbing colour, thus being turned into a void, a non-material. This is another variation on the theme of reality and non- reality and represents another reference to the illusionism of figurative painting. The actual material conditions are (seemingly) inverted, for where you would expect the hole of non-existence to yawn into space you now find material existence. And this material presence in turn has its existence reinforced by its outline, its edge, that is, its border to the actual void.

Despite the rips, the differently sized paper sheets used by Angela Glajcar largely retain their outer shape of an industrially mass-produced product, both in the airy, suspended installations (e.g. 2010- 002) or with the monolithic Blocs (e.g. 2008-153). Straight lines and right angles are the external principle of these works. The artistic signature is revealed in the tears and rips of various sizes. Thus, her works are the culmination of two other principles of Modernism or Post-Modernism: on the one hand, the minimalism negating any individual style, whose proponents have their works produced by others, and on the other hand the expressive subjective perspective of Expressionism, combined with some tendencies of Western painting of the 1950s and 1960s, described by art historian Lazlo Glozer as “exit from the picture,”8 or with the New Image Painting of the 1980s. Here too, further parallels with painting are revealed: the geometric quadrangle of the sheet of paper is analogous to the canvas, and the image area is the actual field of expression.

The first time Angela Glajcar realised an installation in a church was for the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter: Ad Lucem – to the light.9 Into sheets hanging at intervals of 7 cm, the artist tore out lateral openings of various sizes, revealing glimpses into and through the work. In the section hanging the lowest, the holes had been torn such that visitors (to mass) were able to enter the hanging sculpture and look into the tunnel of paper and reflected light. The curvature made it impossible, however, to look out of the installation, leaving the visitor to sense and imagine what might be beyond. It is fascinating to see how the pure white paper – without any additional lighting – actually absorbs the colour of its environment, for it glows in the warm yellow of the sandstone blocks of this late Gothic church.

While the artist responded to the Gothic arches of the church in Cologne with an undulating and yet strictly cubic installation, her reaction to the KunstRaum Hüll, more of a modernist white cube, was Arsis (engl. rising), a large installation more aptly described as painterly. Numerous paper sheets eight metres long were hung in the shape of parabolas. Crossing fan-like, they appeared like great brush-strokes of white paint, freely suspended in space. Some of the sheets had lateral tears, stressing the material’s fragility. The sheets also absorbed the light of their environment, but the large windows of the exhibition room meant that this light was more dependent on the weather than on architecture. This provided the installation with an almost infinite amount of hues.

Marcel Duchamp, one of the major artists of the 20th century, created one of modernity’s incunabula in 1911 with his painting Nu descendant un escalier. A female figure descends a staircase fragmented into several individual figures. Three dec-ades before that, the English photographer Edward Muybridge and the French scientist Étienne-Jules Marey also succeeded, with their chronophotographs, in permanently documenting movement. This fulfilled one of painting’s desiderata: depicting dynamics and time through movement in space. Looking at Angela Glajcar’s installation, such as the one in St. Peter in Cologne (2009-072), in Castelbasso (2009-084) or in the Sint-Anna-ten-Drieënkerk in Antwerp (2010-022), one is struck by the dynamic effect they have, despite the severity of their cubic outline: for the impression is that of a multiplied sheet of paper that changes its appearance with every sheet, moves through space in an undulation and has been captured as if in a snapshot.

Another look at the installation in St. Peter reveals the sensitivity shown by Glajcar when dealing with the different characteristics of each room. For it is not only movement that represents time, but also sound – in this case, an acoustic movement, a sound wave in space. It is very fitting that Angela Glajcar has placed her installation directly in front of the organ loft: like a visualized note, the materialised sound wave oscillates through space into the direction of the choir. Immaterial sound is transformed into material, into paper which, through its gaps and its properties, absorbs light, and dematerialises once again towards the choir window. To use a theological-liturgical term befitting the sacred space, a two-fold, virtual transsubstantiation occurs: sound – paper – light. Thus, Glajcar’s site-specific works in particular impress the viewer with their physical presence in space, and exhibit an almost performative character, since they prompt the viewer to move. Although it is eminently possible to establish numerous art-historical reference points in Angela Glajcar’s works, her way of working and her works are far from eclectic. The sculptor has embarked on her own path, which, as her site-specific works demonstrate clearly, not only reveals a great variety of artistic options, but also deals with various spaces in a most reflective and careful way. The versatile material paper may be at the centre of her artistic endeavour, but it also expands our perspective to include the environment, the immaterial, the “spaces of the thinkable.”

It is easy to find points of reference, associations and interpretations for Angela Glajcar’s oeuvre. Although the following pairs of opposites may not always be true opposites and although they may sometimes overlap in their meanings, the works of Glajcar, some of which were discussed above as examples of a whole, can be described fittingly with the following opposites and sometimes even paradoxes: quiet/dynamics, beauty/destruction, lightness/heaviness, painterly appeal/sculptural expansion, movement/contemplation and fragility/strength. This variety of different terms, descriptions and properties alone illustrates the complexity of the artist’s work. It has nothing to do with indecision, but instead embodies the artistic precision with which Angela Glajcar selects her materials and her procedures. These pairs of opposites can also be found in human existence, and are two sides of the same coin, reflecting life in all its complexity. In addition to the extraordinary artistic position, this is one of the most convincing characteristics of Angela Glajcar’s oeuvre.

Author: Andreas Beitin (b. 1968)
Andreas Beitin is a renowned German art historian, art consultant, curator, and the current director of the Wolfsburg Art Museum. Beitin studied art history, applied cultural studies, and contemporary history at the University of Münster. He earned his Ph.D. with a focus on the theme of the scream in 20th-century German painting and graphics. Beitin has been involved in professional art consulting and academic curation for many years. He previously served as the director of the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe and held the position of Director of the Aachen Ludwig Forum for International Art Forum. In 2019, he took on the role of director at the Wolfsburg Art Museum, where he continues to contribute to the field of art and culture.

1 Angela Glajcar in a conversation with the author on July 7, 2009, in Cologne.

2 Francis Bacon, Neues Organon, lateinisch – deutsch, Wolfgang Krohn (Hrsg.), Meiner, Hamburg 1990, S. 419.

3 Enrico Prampolini, „Polymaterielle Kunst (Auf dem Weg zu einer kollektiven Kunst?)“, in: Materialbild. Italia 1950–1965, hrsg. v. Peter Weibel, Mailand 2009, S. 186 [erstmalig publiziert unter dem Titel „Arte polimaterica (Verso un’arte collectiva?)“ in: Antizipazioni, n. 7, serie Arti, O.E.T., Rom 1944].

4 Boris Groys, „Der Kurator als Ikonoklast”, in: Peter Weibel (Hrsg.), Boris Groys. Die Kunst des Denkens, Hamburg 2008, S. 96.

5 Friedrich Nietzsche, „Sämtliche Werke“, in: Kritische Studienausgabe in 15 Bänden, Giorgio Colli und Mazzino Montinari, München u.a., 1988, Band 7: Nachgelassene Fragmente 1869–1874, S. 199 [1870/1871].

6 Theodor W. Adorno, Gesammelte Schriften, Rolf Tiedemann (Hrsg.), Frankfurt am Main 1997, Band 7: Ästhetische Theorie, S. 154ff.

7 Platon zitiert in: Karl-Heinz Barck u.a. (Hrsg.), Ästhetisches Grundbegriffe. Historisches Wörterbuch in sieben Bänden, Band 1: Absenz – Darstellung, Stuttgart, Weimar 2000, S. 2.

8 Laszlo Glozer, „Ausstieg aus dem Bild. Wiederkehr der Außenwelt“, in: Westkunst. Zeitgenössische Kunst seit 1939, Ausstellungskatalog Köln 1981, Köln 1981, S. 234.

9 A wave-like construction of two parallel metal rods was suspended along the nave of the almost 500-year-old church, from which 150 paper sheets 250 cm high and 130 cm wide were hung at regular intervals.

Terforations – complex structures made of paper, space, and time

Margareta Sandhofer

Angela Glajcar certainly chooses an out-of-the-ordinary material, namely paper, to create her sculptures, some of which have truly monumental proportions. While the use of papier-mâché in sculpting is nothing new, Angela Glajcar’s approach is, if not unusual or bizarre, then very particular and striking in terms of its radical purism: She exclusively uses sheets of white paper, out of which she tears parts. Relying only on mechanical fixtures, she then assembles these torn sheets one in front of another to form her sculptures and installations. This extreme minimalism in her working method is not the product of some programmatic concept, as it arose almost by coincidence, but it is definitely now a unique, characterizing feature of her output. 

Angela Glajcar’s oeuvre at a glance

After studying sculpture at the Nuremberg Academy of Fine Arts from 1991 to 1998, Angela Glajcar produced huge and solid sculptures made of steel and wood. She found collaging the technique best suited to what she wanted to achieve. She tore sheets of white paper or paper painted black into shapes and systematically combined them to form a surface that reflected the interaction of the three-dimensional parts of the figure she wished to create in wood or in metal (1999-007 thru 2000-0010, Noyane Skizze 2000-012, 2000-013). While the sculptural effect of these flat, black-white collages was in itself persuasive in visual terms, Glajcar intensified it by raising individual segments (2000-20, 2000-023, 2000-024, 2002-001, 2002-002). Increasingly, Angela Glajcar gave these highly contrasting reliefs a status of their own, something that culminated in the first large-format series Contrarius (2002-016 thru 2002-018). To display the pieces, she a_ached the collage of torn sections directly to the wall. Given their sizes of up to three meters, the works encapsulated architecture and cast theatrical shadows (2003-008 thru 2003-020, 2003-023, 2003-039 thru 2003-041, 2003-060). For Angela Glajcar, the Contrarius pieces marked her winning a ba_le in her constant aspiration to liM the massed volume of the sculpture upwards, as it were to transform our given knowledge of weight and gravity into a sense of lightness, to realize something “that no one will believe possible”. It was this she had achieved with the Contrarius series. In the process, what had become clear to her were the properties of paper collaging, the infinite potential sheets of paper offered a sculptor. 

After brief phase (2002-3) in which Angela Glajcar produced collages alongside classical sculptures and as their equals, she resolved to fundamentally and rigorously concentrate on paper. In 2004, a competition hosted by Museum Wiesbaden offered her an opportunity to realize a large wall piece over 15 meters in length: A combination of gouache on paper and untreated paper with torn forms, Contrarius 2004-001 stretched along the wall and also out over the floor. One year later, Angela Glajcar realized another larger site-specific installation – Contrarius Raum V 2005-005 – at Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, which started from the wall and extended proudly and freely out into the higher reaches of the hall. After the end of the exhibition, Angela Glajcar archived the material in the form of a bound book, only to again discern sculptural poten’al – in the relief of the book as was: The notion of fanning such a relief out to form a large spatial installation marked the beginning of the work group she called “Terforations”. In 2006, Angela Glajcar started the major series with Terforation 1 2006-003 at the Nassauische Sparkasse Wiesbaden Art Collection, and has been continuing it ever since. Her site-specific intervention unfolded above the viewers’ heads in vertical layers across an impressive length of 18 meters. She had torn cavi’es into the interior of the overall volume which, depending on where you stood, offered you a view into the diaphanous structure.

It is precisely this purist use of her material that gives Angela Glajcar such liberty in realizing a broad raM of site-specific pieces. Unlike conventional sculptures that first and foremost concentrate solipsistically on themselves and stand in a par’cular place in casual oblivion to their surroundings, her Terfora’ons afford an inexhaustible wealth of opportunities for addressing the specific space and, on the basis of her analysis of the seing, for creating an intervention that in each case possesses a character all of its own. 


Angela Glajcar’s sculptures and installations derive their corporeal presence from the distance between the sheets of paper: The latter evolve a sculptural dimension from their multifaceted interaction with the emptiness of space that functions here as a corporeal element. Intangible emptiness, the nothingness of the interstice, is framed by the individual sheets of paper, rendered visible, and imbued with spatial presence and power – impacting in a complex manner on surroundings and viewers alike. These expansive installations subordinate and distort space, lead to corrections in proportions, or foster tension within the particular space. That said, even a smaller sculpture on the wall intervenes in the given structure, generating a sense of height and depth in the particular gallery, shifting the architectural relationships. 


Light and its colors play an elementary role here. Depending on the lighting conditions, the angle of light can bring the gallery space and above all the work to life. Frontally, light collides with the piece and is reflected, while from the side it gets fragmented between the layers of sheets of paper. Reflection and the creation of shadows ins’ll the almost incorporeal structures with power and plasticity, animating the entire space. If the lighting varies, then the appearance of each piece changes. Modulations in the natural (or artificial) light allow them to develop their complex essence, their vibrancy, and their character – properties that may themselves be in a constant process of transformation. The dimension of ‘me is reflected as a pictorial factor in the light and becomes a quintessential property of the work. These sculptures prove to be permanent metamorphoses, full of lyricism and yet ambivalent. 


Angela Glajcar’s pieces possess an enchanting translucence and lightness, something attributable to the use of plain white sheets of paper. With this flat and almost weightless material, she proceeds to unleash astonishingly monumental and sculptural effects. She consciously factors viewers’ unsettled, ambivalent responses to the work into the piece while also considering their knowledge of the familiar material and the manifold ways in which it is used. Even aMer they have been assembled, the sheets of paper remain a vibrant material with the sense of waves they evoke. Paper has a good memory, which is why it is important to store it correctly; nevertheless, it has a certain resilience to oscillations in humidity levels. Each type of paper has its own specific properties, paper from a roll behaves differently to paper in loose sheets; each type of paper tears along an edge characteristic for it and depending on the torn opening it hangs and moves differently. If the paper is coated by a layer of black gouache then it is heavier, stiffer, and languid. It rolls up in a less idiosyncratic manner than does untreated white paper. In her “Contrarius” series, Angela Glajcar combines the two different types of paper and in this way achieves a striking contrast with a dynamic all of its own. 


Angela Glajcar’s method derives from a form of materialism, as it were, as she starts by working with the properties of the material; she processes it so precisely that it assumes the intended shape. In exact preparatory works made on-screen using 3D simulations, she visualizes the look she seeks for the sculpture. The screen is the stage on which she digitally composes the choreography of the arrangement – an activity that she then finally accords to the light which, when encountering the white paper of the object, causes manifold shadows and at times dips it in numerous nuances of color such as essentially to transmute its appearance. 2 During the actual production phase, Glajcar may deviate from the concluded concept in terms of details; indeed, this may spontaneously occur during the installation process as Angela does not feel that she is snared in a strict duty to follow the original plan. However, by and large she remains faithful to the plot. The digital act of conceptualization runs contrary in a way to the “primitive” act of tearing. The distanced stance Glajcar takes when planning and creating the piece at the computer, relying on complex programs in the process, flips into its opposite as soon as she gets hands-on and tears into the sheets of paper – or tears them up. A more direct handling of the material is hardly conceivable; the processing here is direct and physical, and at times is an exertion. In the material realization of the piece, her artistic signature is reduced to the concentrated tactile act of tearing in line with the concept. In her considered restraint while working with the paper, Angela Glajcar toys masterfully with the controlled response of the material. 

Effect on the viewer

The purist, minimalist act of tearing gives rise to a complex effect as well as manifold interpretations depending on the context. Angela Glajcar feels the act of tearing gives her great scope and by the same token she leaves room for interpretations that can differ greatly. The finished piece eludes any unequivocal determination, with the individual interpretation often reflecting the respective viewer’s prior experiences. The structures harbor a great degree of subjectivity; they encourage the viewer to project an emotional narrative on to them, one that each person perceives differently. 

Just as the artistics handling of the material is so very direct, so too viewing Angela Glajcar’s oeuvre is a direct encounter with paper as a material in all its originality. It is experienced directly, oMen in light of its mutability, as a constant metamorphosis. 

We respond emotionally to paper, grasp it as an historical and archaic material, feel its lightness and fragility. In terms of its violability and tenderness, it is reminiscent of skin. The sheet of paper is an unwritten expanse, as white as nothingness, innocent and pure – and Angela Glajcar transforms this innocence into a striking sculpture with a being of its own, telling us its story, taking the stage with its resolute, impressive presence. In viewers it triggers unforeseeable sensations of which they can only to a slight extent have had any premonition, affecting them immediately, physically. At times, the viewer standing before these pieces is seized by the feeling of physical exposure they evoke – whereby this relationship between work and viewer can be the precise opposite. 

Plastic, glass fabric

When Angela Glajcar felt the need to create art for outdoors, embracing it as a welcome challenge, she extended the spectrum of materials she uses to include thin plastic panels. The panels are about three millimeters thick and she saws them and heats them, and lastly she molds them. To lend the shape of the transparent material visibility and volume, she subsequently sands the surface somewhat. The resulting translucent, glowing body is so alien as to resemble some utopian flying object, and creates the impression that space is simply leaking out of it.

Given the need to use material that was non-flammable, Angela Glajcar developed her “Corum” series using glass fabric, from which she devises sculptural objects, installations and expansive site-specific pieces. The white glass fabric is as organic as textiles and reflects the light. Angela Glajcar spans the fabric in spacious strips that she then carefully hangs one over the other before cuing individual threads out of them. The fabric bulges in different ways depending on whether the weM or warp threads are reduced; some threads are left dangling and interlock the fragmented spatial compartments. The result is three-dimensional cross-hatching that is distorted when cast as a shadow, the image thus transformed in the reproduction. With its gossamer lightness, the structure floats before us like a fairy. With its multilayered translucence, it resembles some ethereal being, lucid and yet discontinuous, imbued with a power we cannot define.

The sculptures and installations made of plastic and glass fabric bring to mind wondrous, spiritual beings, irreal and seemingly from a different world. That said, plastic and glass fabric do not have as strong an emotional effect as paper. Paper possesses a far greater panoply of creative possibilities and a stronger atmospheric effect, not to mention the special significance of the tear in paper. 

The tear

The act of tearing differs considerably from that of cuing; bereft of instrumentation, it is more immediate, closer, and more physical. The tear exhibits at its edges traces of a coarse, human dimension while seeming purist and archaic. The edge of the tear looks different, depending on the side of the sheet of paper you look at. Angela Glajcar works with both views of the tear; she controls the tear and its appearance with the utmost precision. On one side of the sheet, the surface remains intact up to the torn silhouette and there develops a 4 certain dynamism; on the other side, the tear edge runs like a rough strip from the silhouette to the surface of the sheet of paper. Light rubs up against the rough edge of the tear, space flows across it, almost tangibly dissipating in the process before coming up against limits. Here, the tear highlights the paper’s intrinsic structure, exposing its insides. With its softness and vulnerability, the edge of the tear denotes the wound, and the torn opening seems painful, with a manifest vehemence that is quite touching. In Angela Glajcar’s sculptures, the tear functions as the hinge between positive and negative space. It opens up crevasses and gaps, the interstice that so characterizes the works. We are offered bottomless insights, impenetrable abysses – and what lies between them as the difficult form of existence of a heterogeneous structure. Each overall piece is framed in fragmentation, bundled, and folded open as a being, indeed a spectacular apparition with a monumental presence, yet the tear reveals a precarious sensitivity that stimulates the eye. 


In 2006, Angela Glajcar produced her first “Terforation”, and has since then consistently advanced this specific type of sculpture. The overall body of a Terforation resembles a compact block, the volume of which has been dissolved into spatial fragments. The layers of the individual sheets function as spatial dividers, and into their outer limits Angela Glajcar has torn openings and formed cavities. The composition derives from the constancy of the sequence and arrangement of the sheets and how they are torn. If she gives a “Terforation” a torn outer edge, then the piece seems more open and corresponds more strongly with its surroundings. If she retains the cut outer edges of the sheets, the statement the piece makes changes and the work no longer seems so introspective.

In the interstices between the sheets, space becomes rhythmically divided and sub-divided. Space is then no longer homogeneous but experienced in its fragmentation, as a harmonious discontinuity and in this regard heterogeneous.

The sculptural oeuvre, the space it occupies, is also visible here in its negative form as the empty spaces. Above all, this negative form reveals the volume that radiates activity. The outer shape references the inner form, as the torn cavities, defined by the outer limits that frame them, the envelope of the paper, harbor the sculptural potential.

At the digital stage of creation, Angela Glajcar already factors in how the ‘Terforation’ can be viewed from all sides and visualizes the multiple interactions with the surrounding space by using 3D software. Her focus has always been on movement and its overlap with the particular space, evidencing the influence of her early contact with dancers: Angela Glajcar acts as a choreographer, space is her stage, the sculpture the dancer. Her works are fragile and acute; in terms of their constitution, their highlighted rhythm, a sensibility generates a specific space for itself.

There is a wide range of different ‘Terforations’, with the size, shape and key characteristics varying immensely. This diversity can best be outlined by describing a few specimen works. 

Object-based ‘Terforations’

Alongside the large installations, Glajcar’s oeuvre also features object-like ‘Terforations’ or ones created like reliefs.

For the Contrarius Terforation 2019-001 (fig.) she painted sheets of paper with black ink and assembled them in a series alternating with untreated sheets. This especially brings the torn edges of the openings, which taper inwards, to the fore. Despite not being overly large (87 x 5 52 x 42 cm), the piece possesses a strong spatial presence, as the sharp contrast between smooth black surface and soM, coarse, white torn edges gives rise to a dynamic forward thrust. The diaphanous structure has an architectural feel and eschews any closed volume: With its many aspects, it is neither fragile nor compact but resembles a large set of sub-segments that, while being bundled to form an animated edifice, refuse or quite simply are unable to form a homogeneous whole. The individual sheets roll up in too idiosyncratic a way for that to happen – and strive zestfully outwards in the process. The piece seems to be living but stuck to the wall, like a sea anemone on a reef in the depths of the ocean, an enigma’c being, solipsistically concentrating on itself.

Compared to this drama’c appearance of the subjectivized Contrarius Terforation 2019-001, Terforation Sasa 2019-005 (fig.) seems withdrawn qua hermetic object. The white paper resembles injured skin, the process of tearing remains tangible as a painful experience. Something had happened to this object. Unlike Contrarius Terforation 2019-001 or other installations that usually exude an ac’ve potential, it seems like an artefact, on which something, a being or a force, has leM its mark. Its ´has a soM, sentimental and vulnerable air to it. When the rose light of evening falls on its surfaces and edges, the piece becomes almost organic and its sensitive opening erotic, the fine, roughened structure kindling a desire that is unsettling.

One ‘Terforation’ that Angela Glajcar made using thicker paper seems as massive as a cliff that juts out from the wall. With its emphatic materiality, Terforation 2020-001 (fig.) seems robust, the sheets leathery and strong. On the surface, but also at the edges on the sides, cavities have burrowed into the depths, crea’ng the impression that we are witnessing a section of something larger, as if we were viewing one geological segment. The piece resembles the remaining shell of a force long since extinguished, a force that caused the interventions. The edges of the tears draw the eye inwards, bringing about a kind of melancholy, the search for that fleeting moment of which we are seeing traces. Sometimes Angela Glajcar frames such an object, Terbloc 2019-046 (fig.) being a case in point. Captured behind glass, it is reminiscent of an archaeological find from some ancient ‘me, shifted by human hand and presented as a remote object on a wall. It seems tamed, yet the closer one gets to it, the more that impression wobbles. The object withdraws into the loneliness of its shape, drawing our eyes into its depths in the process, without revealing them, however. It is on the retreat, wants to keep us at a distance; yet we want to fathom it, and in this way it triggers nebulous thoughts in the pondering viewer. The deeper one delves into this mysterious opposite, the more convoluted the notions the imagination comes up with. A diffuse sense of yearning arises, and the subversive feeling of a pending loss sharpens our senses as we stand before the piece. 

‘Terforations’ as installations

While these object-like ‘Terforations’ exert an astonishingly immersive power, this is immensely amplified in the large installations. They intervene in the respective space, disturb the venue in its totality, and tug the viewer directly into their world. At Museum Wiesbaden there is a permanent site-specific work to be seen: Terforation 2007-062, made by Angela Glajcar in 2007 as a large walk-through installation. The blocklike volume functions as a closed shape with an open structure offering four different views or countless ones if you wander past, because the sheets of paper act like louvers and you can only in part see through them. This ‘Terforation’ is open to the outside world on its longitudinal sides with its soM indentations, and with the gap in it encourages you to enter. On the narrow ends the gaze is repelled and entry denied. Contrary to the original way the sheets were hung – in regular intervals – the material’s inherent properties have won out and it has rolled up slightly, setting the stringent system into soM motion. From the outside it seems innocent, from the inside seductive, the visitor entering it is engrossed by the structure but embraced by a soM, dreamy atmosphere. Owing to its associative pull, however, the cavity torn into the sculpture has an engulfing effect, as if one were being engorged by the stomach of an uncanny creature. In Terforation 2007-062 we discern an ambivalence that was to become all the stronger in later works. 

With her ‘Terforation’ installations, Angela Glajcar consciously intervenes in the existing architectural constellations and influences the prevalent atmospheric impact the space has. 

In 2008, she was commissioned by the City of Frankfurt Dept. for Culture to fit out its main meeting room with an installation that would absorb the strongly echoing acoustics of the unusually high interior. Terforation X/I 2008-182 roots organically in the wall and thrusts outward from there, a powerful structure that floats above the heads of those convening, watching over the meeting. It seems to have grown out of the wall or have climbed out of the architecture like a genie out of a bottle, visionary and somehow reminiscent of a sci-fi scene. 

For all its multiple layers, the monumental installation is homogeneous in appearance. Angela Glajcar then added her openings with strikingly broad tear edges so that the coarse insides are exposed – in several layers. They refract the light in countless fine nuances of white, all of which, however, seem to radiate a sensuous warmth compared to the cold white of the walls, and even the individual sheets of paper convey a corporeality so that the large sculpture exudes softness and physical closeness. As a vibrant, organic structure, it stretches up into the heights, an animated benevolent cloud that some may find brings a Chinese dragon to mind. The unpleasant acoustics were a real problem and now Angela Glajcar’s intervention absorbs the sound. However, it not only masters the acoustics; it has subjugated the previously strange proportions of the meeting room, has pushed itself in from of the ugly platform, and lessened the unseemly height of the room. The sculpture changes and dominates the entire room and its mood. It is constantly renewing itself with the incidence of natural light and likewise through the respective view of it. It prompts those present to constantly change their position round the meeting table, to change their angle, and indirectly possibly to be more flexible in their minds. In other words, it clearly steers behavior in the hall. Terforation X/I 2008-182 has appropriated the entire room, filled the emptiness with its volume and with meaning. Since it has transformed the architectural constellations into a harmonious whole, and its white reflects the colors of the surroundings, it enters into a real bond with the room. It leads you into its depths like a tromp d’oeuil on the ceiling, oscillating between intellectual exaggeration and seductive sensuousness. 

Sometimes, the character of the sculptural intervention is more clearly subjective and emanates persuasive activity: One example is Terforation 2015-021 (fig.), a site-specific intervention that makes its way like a large beast from one visually distinct spatial compartment to the next, thus forging an elementary, dynamic link between the two. It gazes back at us, peering round the corner like Terforation 2015-021 or lurking with subcutaneous aggression and restrained force like Terforation 2019-005 (fig.). In the uppermost zone of a narrow corridor, torn paper sheets are lined up across its entire breadth, floating above us like so many teeth that could fall upon us. If one switches on the artificial lighting above the installation, things change. It becomes a light-giving apparition and transforms the passageway into a cave structured by light and shadow, its flattering sheets kindling a sense of comfortable safety as you walk beneath them. Angela Glajcar is increasingly breaking with the strictly closed outer shape of her interventions and opening them up to the surrounding space, which entails greater effort as regards the at times quite complicated assembly of the series. In Terforation 2019-040 (fig. Cheongju, South Korea, July 2019) she has two strands drawing closer together then converging in a conically tapered block. What is s’ll a homogeneous shape she then tears apart to create a veritable vortex in the later site-specific installation Infinity – Terforation 2019-043 (fig. Sharjah, UAE, December 2019); it fans out freely and quite vigorously, occupying the surrounding space as it goes beyond its own set shape. The piece is in flux, or rather in a vortex of origination; with its idiosyncratic rhythm, it drags or draws the material along with it. With each step, the impenetrable piece appears different to us, and new aspects of this multi-layered structure emerge. We find ourselves following our curiosity and walking round the sculpture, immersed in its thus intensifying complexity. 

In Infinity – Terfora’on 2019-043 Angela Glajcar devises a rush of choreography, intensifying the interwoven nature of the mutual interplay of space, object, and viewer, helping the sculpture for all its restrained materiality to take the stage most dramatically. The intervention seems to be in the midst of an ecstatic dance – it looks back, subjectivizes, manifests challenging potential. Infinity – Terforation 2019-043 is the first piece with the vortex effect and to date the last realized on a large scale. 

paperwalls (Kringelbilder)

The artist developed her ‘paperwalls’ series from the material extracted by the tears in the ‘ Terforations’. She tears the pieces of paper into strips, bundles them, and mounts them on a background or directly on the wall. The results spill like plants out of a cliff wall. Each structure distinguishes itself as a flow of organic waves, bulging and rolling towards us in cheeky curls. The arbitrary power of the material’s own properties is astonishing, seemingly defying gravity; the exact reaction of the torn strips of paper is again something the artist’s hand can control to a limited extent only, and the dimensions are not unlimited given that the paper can only roll up to a certain extent. Angela Glajcar explores precisely this reach. The insides torn from the larger pieces in the process of making them now unravel outside in excessive sets of curls, the piece is inside-out as it were. It almost seems to be something created in the rocaille style, roman’c with its snuggly waves, almost figurative or representational, coquettish in an extroverted idiom. 

The ‘Terforations’ and their essence

We fundamentally perceive Angela Glajcar’s ‘Terforations’ as large shapes that appear in either of two different guises. We can view these large shapes from the outside (as with Terforation X/I 2008-182 or Terforation 2019-040 and Infinity – Terforation 2019-043) or our gaze leads us into their insides (as with Terforation 2007-062 or Terforation 2019-005). 

Using but a little material, Angela Glajcar creates monumental phenomena. Their effect depends on their scale and height. The actual later effect of the work when realized is something Angela Glajcar plots in advance with the digital draM, although the poetry derives from the materialization and not least the presence of the tears. Angela Glajcar does not seek some mime’c form; the piece is not representational in the sense of it depicting something. It does not represent anything, does not repeat some other presence, as its own real presence is achieved by embracing and delimiting interstices, empty spaces, nothing. The shape assumed derives solely from the associations of the person perceiving it. ‘Terforations’ are not hermetically sealed structures – neither to the outside world, nor intrinsically; the individual spatial segments inter-penetrate and lose themselves in one another. They interact with architectural elements, intervene in the surrounding space to change it, are quite able to counteract the motion of a staircase with their own rhythm, superimpose themselves on an ugly, misshapen platform, reflect the colors of a room or hall in terms of the given lighting, and breathe life into a dead space. The space becomes a stage as a consequence, one on which the intervention unleashes its powers and kindles emotions in the beholder. Angela Glajcar’s interventions can lead us into poe’c contemplation or draw the gaze into vertiginous depths and heights. Often, the ‘Terforations’ reach upwards, for the stars, rising up like towers of ice or cumulus cloud. As a result, the architecture is visually expanded or broken open. The effect is similar to that of cloud formations in the illusionistic Baroque or Late Baroque ceiling frescoes. The ‘Terforations’ open out into space, while also interfacing with it, jutting out into it. The sculpture emerges from this paradoxical complexity of materiality, the space’s emptiness as well as its volume, a surreal and unsettling interweaving into which we find ourselves thrust. In their desire for a balanced state in which they are one with the surrounding space, the ‘Terforations’ seize hold of its gaze and also ours, suggestively entwining us in their immersive cosmos. 

Initially, the installations seem to be autonomous, but the more expansive they seek to be, the more strongly we can discern the interaction with and dependence on their surroundings and its conditions, and the more complexly they become woven up in paradox. The unique yet masterful dialectic derives from this paradox, and that dialectic then also includes the viewers as a factor that changes this relationship once again and lays the basis for the sculpture’s real presence. It is the la_er that evokes that specific concentrated context, by virtue of which Angela Glajcar’s installations so astonish us. 

Narration and ambivalence

Angela Glajcar’s ‘Terforations’ exhibit a visual and processual complexity. The la_er trait derives initially from the fact that the work evolves from a sequence of individual sheets – it unfolds its essence under our explorative eye when we immerse our gaze in the space. The processuality continues in the object’s ability to communicate. The object never presents itself in isolation, and even behind a pane of glass it communicates. It suggestively reveals itself and its narration as a field or screen onto which we can project our associations. In its multi-layered difference it narrates its particular state. That difference derives first from the distance between one sheet of paper and the next, and second from the difference to a pristine sheet, third in the difference to the regularity of architecture and any regular system of ordering, and then in the difference to the customary, hermetically sealed sculpture as a structure that evades any unequivocal categorization and yet asserts its own status. Yet again, there is the difference between its own appearances depending on the light that falls on it. 

The works oscillate between presence and representation. They present themselves as activated, subjectified essences that exude an idiosyncratic status of their own and possess discernible potential in a discernible process. On the other hand, each work shows itself to be an object on which something that was present there before or an external energy has left its traces or marks – it represents the past exercise of energy and stands for a concluded process.

The work’s narration unravels in its silent discourse with the space and the viewer; it is based not only in the work’s actual spatial presence, but above all in the injuries that the object exposes when it opens out to the viewer. It reveals its inner life when viewed directly, a moment that stimulates the mind and is touching. It tells a story about touch and distancing. These opposites collide in the very process of its origination, from the digital draM to the act of tearing, in the hanging and its exhibited display. The oMen monumental shape the work assumes in its elevated posi’on speaks of a changed sensibility, it receives us both masterfully and powerfully, can affect us and embrace us, not to say devour us. Alternatively, it may withdraw into itself and from an injured distance tells us of its new existence as the history of violation. 3

The objects always present thee process of tearing; painfulness is always innate in their narration and thus also an ambiguity of the dimension of ‘me. The torn openings point like wounds to the past and make the la_er present. Past and present collide, in the moment of pain the now jars against the then. Sometimes this can only be felt superficially and clearly, at other times it is concealed behind the structure’s monumental character, but never erased.

Even a powerful ‘Terforation’ like Terforation X/I 2008-182 (in the assembly hall in Frankfurt) can resemble an injured dragon who relies on his ever-present powers. This is not to deny the possibility of sentimentally yearning for the inviolate ordinary past state. The piece describes a new configuration that subjugates or disturbs the existing order of its surroundings, and also shiMs our perspective and orientation. Yet the past converges with the present in a constellation – the two are bound up in an erratic dialectic and cannot be kept separate. An anachronism that confuses and captivates at once.

Glass fabric

In paper form, the sculpture possesses a theatrical immanence that through the evident visibility of its innerworldly being represents only itself and therefore offers us the openness to read it differently. This element is formalized and exaggerated in the translucent veils of glass fabric. In the superimposed layers and their transparency, an ambiguity arises, an ambivalence in their substantive thrust. For the distance created through exaggeration, this state of not belonging to the tangible world intimates a sense of communicated loneliness. The moment of being painfully reminded of injured skin of the ‘Terforations’ is transformed in the glass fabric structures into an aura-infused appearance. The veils seems both close and remote, caught between ephemeral presence and dream-like memory, desire or yearning, interwoven to jell in a tender, mythical skein of ‘me and space, a veiled fate, poetry lent objective form by its nostalgic robes.

The fairy-like installations evoke nebulous memories, albeit of something that is intangible, that can at best be intuited. In this regard, Glajcar’s oeuvre symbolizes the loss of memory. An unquenchable thirst for memory remains, causing agitation and capturing our gaze. The distance remains present and unsurmountable. The possibility of transcendence seizes an atmospheric space. What has been and the promise of what could be embrace to constitute a strange form of presence. Time assumes a spatial dimension. A discourse between oeuvre and perception ensues, a critical dialog that swings back and forth between the questioning eye of the viewer and the unsatisfactory answer of the subjectified work; it is a game that cannot engender clarity. A dialectical process unfolds, and it is one that itself constantly changes. Any exhaustive interpretation would mark stands’ll – and that is not the objective. 

1 Cf. Hanten-Schmidt, S.: Angela Glajcar Catalogue raisonné, (Cologne, 2013), p. 36. Angela Glajcar herself coined the term “Terforation”. It derives from the Latin foramen = hole and/or perforation, and terra/earth, and alludes to terra incognita (unknown, unexplored territories).

2 On the references in the oeuvre to dance and choreography, see Hanten-Schmidt, S.: Angela Glajcar, Catalogue raisonné, (Cologne, 2013), p. 28 f.

3 The iconoclastic element discussed in the secondary literature can be reduced to that of injury, of violation. Cf. Hanten-Schmidt,S. in op. cit., p. 48 and Beitin, A. ibid., pp. 64-5.


Sasa Hanten-Schmidt

In contrast to traditional positions in art history, one of the essential features of art of the 20th and 21st century is the relation of the work to the artist’s biography. The conditions under which artists work today are mainly determined by the fact that they work without a commission, that is, freelance. This entails an increase in the work’s subjectivity (cf. Bonnet, Anne-Marie: Kunst der Moderne, Kunst der Gegenwart, Cologne 2008, pp. 34/35). This subjectivity makes the works hard to decode. Thus, success depends to a large extent on whether an artist has succeeded in developing a language that recipients can hear and understand.

In order to find the key to the “increased subjectivity” of Angela Glajcar’s work it would therefore make sense to take a closer look at her biography, while, however, avoiding any simplistic transfer actions.1

Angela Glajcar was born in 1970 in Mainz as the second child of Dr Michael Glajcar and his wife Felicitas Glajcar. Her father worked as a teacher at a vocational business school, and her mother had trained as a dispensing chemist and worked, on and off, in various jobs such as RE teacher and eventually as secretary at the women’s section of the diocese of Mainz. Her sister Stefanie is three years her senior, her brother Daniel three years her junior. According to Angela Glajcar, the sister was clearly mommy’s girl and the brother daddy’s boy, while she was always somehow apart, perhaps even “on the sidelines.” This individual description is in line with psychological literature describing the middle child between sister and brother as not having a clear place amongst the siblings, as the role of the “oldest girl” and “youngest boy” are already taken (Toman, Walter: Familienkonstellationen: Ihr Einfluss auf den Menschen – original title: Family constellation: its effects on personality and social behavior – Munich 2011, p. 28).

At first, the fact that such a young child should concern herself with the allocation of family roles seems curious and begs the question of whether this is not a case of retrospective evaluation. However, Angela Glajcar’s biography is dotted with occasions conducive to a contemplation of roles, making this self-awareness less surprising. Angela Glajcar was not even two years old when her mother suffered from the first of many slipped disks. At that time, her mother had to spend two months in a body cast, rendering her unable to do any housework whatsoever. Neighbours and friends helped the father, who was working on his thesis at the time, with looking after the eldest daughter, while Angela (her brother had not yet been born) was sent to live with her godmother in the Black Forest.

One hardly needs any particular psychological training to understand immediately how drastic an experience this must have been for the child. Particularly since, according to her, “she did not recognise anyone anymore.” Implicating all her relatives in the statement of “not anyone” is somewhat artificial, a transfer of her experience of father and sister who, in her absence, had formed a close union. Thus, the situation found upon her return already anticipated the family role of the middle child feeling marginalised. According to John Bowlby, during the absence of a child, family life can organise itself in such a way that it leaves no place for the returning child to assume (c.f. Trennung. Psychische Schäden als Folge der Trennung von Mutter und Kind, Frankfurt am Main 1986, p. 30; original title: Separation. Anxiecy and Anger, London 1973).

In general, family life was determined by the father’s origins and his career. Today, Angela Glajcar sees her father’s work constraints in a different light, namely as restlessness and a lack of commitment stemming from different sources.

Angela Glajcar: “It is surprising to see the extent to which his refugee background had an impact on our lives; his biography left its mark on all of us.”

While his ancestors hailed from Czechia, Angela Glajcar’s father himself was born in 1939 in Breslau, which became part of Poland in 1945. Following the expulsions of Germans from Poland after World War II, the family settled in Frankfurt/Main. His father, who returned from captivity as a prisoner of war in the late 1940s, established a furrier’s workshop there but died soon thereafter. During her childhood and youth she had no opportunity to find an explanation for her father’s conduct or her parent’s relationship to one another. The past was not an issue. Nobody talked to the children about it. Basically, what little she did know reached her via the detour of her own children, with whom her father seemed to be prepared to talk more.

Angela Glajcar’s individual experience in this respect is in line with the results of scientific study of contemporaries of her father. Edna Brocke writes: “The grandparents are able to talk to their grandchildren. It is almost as if a generation were skipped.” (“Impressions from talks with Jewish holocaust survivors, their children and grandchildren”, in: Psychosozial 1988, Nr. 36, pp. 38–43, p. 42). However, this indirect communication only gave her a vague impression of the life of her direct ancestors: the cruel fate of being expelled, an absent father first due to war and then early death, a cold/stern mother, no tender and loving care and the constant feeling of being unwanted, as a German national in Poland and as a displaced person in Frankfurt. The immediate impression is that of a familiar story. Jürgen Müller-Hohagen of the Dachau Institute describes stereotypical, “boring” reports as a specific characteristic of the stories of traumatised persons (Müller-Hohagen, Jürgen: verleugnet verdrängt verschwiegen. Seelische Nachwirkungen der NS-Zeit und Wege zu ihrer Überwindung, Munich 2005, p. 129). Because of this typical speechlessness, the mass phenomenon of traumatisation amongst the war generation had consequences that are felt to this day.

Angela Glajcar made these observations early, thus proving a keen eye for her surroundings. However, it is well known that identifying a problem does not in itself solve it. As he is the focal point of the family, Angela Glajcar has had to come to terms with her father’s lack of commitment on the one hand and his overwhelming need for security on the other.

After the father had completed his doctoral thesis, the family moved to Berlin for a couple of years (1973–1979), but returned to Mainz at the end of Angela’s time at primary school. They moved within the city several times after that. During primary school and until puberty Angela Glajcar was a sensitive child, who was often ill and felt helpless before medical attempts at diagnosis and therapy, but she remembers the time in Berlin as a happy one. She felt included, had friends even though her frail health caused her to miss more than thirty days of school each year. During this time she had her second early, intensive experience: visits to the Ethnological Museum of Berlin in Dahlem. Even today, listening to the adult artist talk about the dark halls with dimly lit boats, rafts, huts and tools from Africa and Oceania, it is impossible not to notice the impression this must have made on the child. A mysterious, a mystic place. This museum became the place of her dreams. The artist’s current stance on exhibitions, namely that they should touch the viewers and not be academic and without emotion, is surely based on this intensive, almost dreamlike childhood experience. Naturally, however, it was not predictable at that point that her own works, particularly the monumental installations in museums, churches and offices, would have an impact on viewers comparable to her experience with that museum.

Back in Mainz, the sickly child was nicknamed “red Angela” on account of her ginger hair. Now she also felt excluded outside of the family, lost and curiously defenceless. From then on, she frequently pursued her interests alone: crafting, working with her hands, walking, playing outdoors – those were the things she liked to do.

In 1985, the parents separated, and the answer to the question of what to do with the children seemed clear: the brother was to stay with the father, the sister with the mother, and Angela was to decide for herself whom she wanted to live with. A great responsibility for a child. Between 1985 and 1987 she stayed with her father, from 1987 to 1990, when she began to study, she lived with her mother. She sees the need for security embodied in her father’s and siblings’ choice of the teaching profession. Both brother and sister continued the family tradition and adhered to social conventions: the brother qualified as a grammar school teacher, the sister as a primary school teacher.

Angela Glajcar describes life at home, particularly before the parents’ separation, with analytical detachment as that of a typical teacher’s household, with the school at the centre. Her father’s favourite pupils were constant visitors, and they received a lot of attention. For a while, her parents were involved in the ecumenical grassroots organisation “Kirche von unten” (Church from Below). Her mother was to intensify her involvement later, after her separation from her husband and eventual divorce, through her work in the church administration. However, religious issues played no (major) role in their daily life. In their free time, the family went hiking and on simple holidays. Visits to the museum or similar excursions, however, were definitely the exception rather than the rule. They were by no means of the intellectual middle-class. Art in particular played no role whatsoever in the family. There is no indication of a particular inclination towards the arts in the extended family, either.

At the end of secondary school, the direction in which she would develop and the career path she would follow were completely open.

It was obvious to her in principle “that I had to sort out my career myself, [because] nobody else showed any great interest in it.” This impression of a middle child is also in line with the results of research in the field. Middle children see themselves as frequently overlooked and excluded from the family, and imagine themselves to be the least important. They are the children most likely to move away from the family, both geographically and with regard to their choice of career (Toman, l.c., p. 28).

In continuation of her childhood activities she spent a large part of her free time in the studio of Reginald Krämer, her teacher, and, thanks to his contacts, at the school vacation camp in Winterburg. In fact, Reginald Krämer, his wife and his children were for years like a second family for her. At the school vacation camp Angela Glajcar joined a group known as the “Construction Crew.”

The group, who was responsible for carrying out all kinds of manual work around the house, consisted almost exclusively of grammar school students. In line with her social environment, Angela then began to attend grammar school, too. Her home-life also changed: she moved in with her mother.

Training to be a carpenter or learning another trade, as suggested by her father as a “proper” job, was, however, out of the question for Angela Glajcar. A work experience during secondary school left her with the distinct impression that a trade was all about “right or wrong.” Even as a schoolgirl she considered this too narrow an approach. Right or wrong solutions were precisely what she was not interested in.

After finishing her A-levels, her father made it very clear he would only finance one type of education, an unmistakeable “no” to any aimless wanderings. Any careers advisor worth his or her salt would nowadays interpret manual dexterity combined with a deep-seated mistrust of right and wrong as an aptitude for a creative occupation (art, architecture or similar). As a result of a lengthy work experience in the teacher’s studio, Angela Glajcar herself developed the idea of studying at an art college – specifically, enrolling in a sculpture course. Without this work experience, this idea would not have been possible: being an artist, creative, and a woman; all this did not seem to go together at all. The degree course – feared for its high theoretical content – and the personality and circumstance of artists – chaotic, insecure and badly paid – offered no suitable role model for a woman. For the budding artist, women in art had the roles of ethereal muses and objects of art, never creators. Looking back, it was certainly a stroke of luck that Angela Glajcar was provided with this haven – even if this was for want of anything else – where she could use her practical abilities to develop her own model.

University as a safe haven

The start of her studies in Nuremberg in 1991 and the associated geographical distance to her core family made the existing conflicts considerably less acute. Under the influence of her tutor, Reginald Krämer, Angela Glajcar initially arranged her foundation course along conservative- figurative lines. However, all too soon this required another disengagement, the shedding of another skin. Just as she soon felt that mere manual labour became “too much of a drudge,” she tired of the figurative work that was part of her course. For the last time in her life, she appeared to somatize a problem: surgery on a bone enlargement on her hand and the subsequent months of reconvalescence provided her with some breathing space and the opportunity to disengage from her supporter and substitute-father. The teacher, who really saw himself as an artist, accused her of betrayal. Glajcar was meant to realise his dream of an artist’s life, independent of the need to earn a living as a teacher. Glajcar was disappointed by his position and responded with “patricide.” This constellation of disengagement and shedding of a skin, which for her con- stituted the obvious next step, is something we encounter more than once with the artist. Surprisingly, her counterparts in these situations always seemed to make it easy for her to leave with their irrational behaviour and their demand that she remain where she is. It is almost comical to demand of an artist that she be happy with her lot and not continue to explore and develop.

At the start of her studies it was widely held that “it was the job of art colleges to grant the students a safe haven where they were allowed to make mistakes” (Burkhard Held in a statement to Anna Prizkau, published in: “Im Mondschein Kunst verkaufen” (Selling Art in Moonshine), in: Der Tagesspiegel, 13 July 2011). After the Bologna reforms and the introduction of Masters degrees even for art degrees, today’s courses are hardly comparable with Angela Glajcar’s experience (instructive reading: Scheller, Jörg: “Nicht schön, aber klug. Viele Künstler studieren neuerdings nach den Regeln der Bologna-Reform. Was bedeutet das für die Kunst?” (Not pretty but clever. Many artist nowadays are studying according to the rules of the Bologna reforms. What are the consequences for art?), in: Die Zeit, 25 December 2010).

At that time the artist’s exploration meant the development of her own oeuvre and not the more narrowly defined scientific research of today’s art studies, or those of other subjects. Angela Glajcar used the haven – the academic playground –and gave her studies a practical outlook. Another stroke of good fortune during that phase was that she found, after lengthy searches at other academies, too, Professor Tim Scott at her own college.

Once she had been accepted into his class (1993), her actual development into the artist we know today began. Without being restricted to figurative work and without being pressurised “to produce art,” as she put it, Angela Glajcar could gain experience and try her hand at various activities. The derogatory expression “to produce art” implies more than her renunciation of figurative art. It was also of great importance for the artist that commercialisation played no role whatso-ever during her studies. It simply didn’t occur to anyone to wonder whether the creative process would ever result in saleable, useful works. At the time this was hardly unusual. Today, however, it is worth mentioning because the conditions have changed. In the course of the general tendency to interlink degree courses with industry and business, the changes made to arts courses are, amongst others, also explained by the fact that the vast majority of art graduates will never be able to earn a living with their art. Angela Glajcar, however, was of a generation of art students that considered the degree course an end in itself, and who trusted that they would be amongst the chosen few who would manage to make a living with their art alone. Here, too, one is tempted to observe how a fundamental question is resolved by her at a surprisingly young age. And here, too, personal, biographical events are what prompted this early insight: Reginald Krämer’s life, whose way of working in the studio she considered to be chaotic and with little sense of time, and whose career choices she judged to be insufficiently risk-embracing. With regard to career choices, Tim Scott had put all his eggs in one basket and had become an artist, with the financial security a position as a professor at an academy brings. Tim Scott is primarily a metal sculptor whose works have a high degree of material density. Angela Glajcar embraced working with the heavy materials steel and wood and, through working with them, developed great physical strength.

As already mentioned, Glajcar enjoyed hiking and walking as a child. At the school camp, she took up manual labour. And then those early indicators of a pronounced physicality re-emerged in her work with massive tree trunks and monolithic blocks of metal. Bearing in mind that she was a sickly child, early portraits of the artist that show Angela Glajcar wielding a power saw are astonishing (cf. Knubben, K 13, p. 60. All sources cited with K and a number can be found in the List of Pub- lications on pages 268–269 of this book.). It was completely beyond her imagination, which was always three-dimensional, to be anything other than a sculptor. Consequently, there are hardly any drawings or paintings, and very little work on paper. This is limited to some manikin sketches during her studies that were not finished works, and a finished cycle from 2003, included in the section of this catalogue that provides an overview of the ouevre (Catalogue raisonné 2003- 024 ff. All further combinations of numbers are from the Catalogue raisonné and consist of the year and, separated by a hyphen, the serial number of that year).

From the time of her degree course practically no works have been preserved, as is in the nature of such a course. Early released and exhibited works show the strong influence of Tim Scott. In part, one cannot but describe it as close mimicry (e.g.: 1997-001; 1997-002).

However, almost simultaneously she created works that disassociated themselves from her professor’s formal vocabulary. Her work Schmiedelied (Forging Song; 1997-004) seems like a pointer towards a different future.

The work appears fragile and is a delicate construct compared to her previous, monolithic works, or to the works of her professor. Inevitably, this suggests an imminent shedding of another skin. The conflict that was in the air was brought to a head in the very controversial discussion about the professor’s public space contract work. Angela Glajcar fundamentally questioned Tim Scott’s concept of space and in the process became determined to look for her own, original approach.


An individual concept

Around the end of her studies and master class with Tim Scott Angela Glajcar worked predominantly with forged and welded steel and with wood. Contrary to Dellwing’s claim (K 6, p. 7.) there are no works of stone. Experiments the artist made with this material in the course of the Salzburg summer academy in 1996 did not result in actual works. Glajcar’s mostly mid-sized metal works (e.g. 1997-001 et al.) and her – partly monumental – wood works (e.g. 1999-004) document the gradual moving away from what she had been taught, but a nod towards Brancusi, Caro and

Tim Scott is still clearly present (c.f. Fellbach-Stein, K 7, p. 1 and Scott, K 26, p. 5). Existing appraisals of Angela Glajcar’s work establish a connection to Anthony Caro (e.g.: Fellbach-Stein and Scott l.c.). However, the name Schmiedelied (1997-004), given to her first lyrical, less compact sculpture, points towards David Smith, whose famous work is entitled Blackburn: Song of an Irish Black-smith. When asked, the artist recalls that during her time as master student she devoured everything about David Smith she could find. This comes as no surprise, seeing that for Tim Scott, too, David Smith “sends out major impulses amongst artists of his age” (Hirsch, Thomas in: Winkelmann, Günter (ed.), Tim Scott. Skulpturen, Zeichnungen, Düsseldorf 1997, p. 10).

During this time, Angela Glajcar’s main interest lies with the artistic forms of expression of other cultures. The initial spark of her visits to the museum of ethnology is now catching fire, as it were. And even without this background knowledge Ursula Zeller cites South America as a point of reference in Angela Glajcar’s formal vocabulary (K 30, p. 2). Tim Scott describes her work as “inspired by African or other ‘primitive’ artists” (K 26, p. 7). The authors agree that the artist has at no point in time referred to real motives (Zeller, K 30, p.1; somewhat different Knubben, K 13, p. 63: “Aspekte des Figürlichen” (Aspects of the figurative), and instead is engaged in archaic artistic forms of expression (Zeller, l.c.). These archaic motives surely include the specific examination of dance as a motive. In 2002, dancers of the Compagnie Martin Schläpfer created a choreography around the exhibits in the Kunstverein Speyer, which was performed at the opening of the exhibition. Shortly after the birth of her second child in the summer of 2003, Angela Glajcar spent several weeks documenting the movements of these dancers during rehearsal (2003-024 ff.). These oil pastel/pencil drawings are the only classic works on paper by the artist. All other paper works by her are works with paper. Meaning, that except for this series all other works do not use paper only as a carrier material. The artist came away from this project with the realisation “that a choreographer works in the same way a sculptor does: partitioning space, allocating shapes, three- dimensional thinking” (Angela Glajcar on June 8th, 2012, in a mail to the author). Observing the dancers intensified her understanding of space (cf. Petzinger, K16, p. 3). This internal bond with dance was already hinted at in Ursula Zeller’s award presentation speech for the Erich Hauser Werkstattpreis in 1998. Here, Zeller mentioned the dancer’s grace which Glajcar manages to wrest from the hard, brittle materials (K 30, p. 1). Even if Angela Glajcar was at that point still searching for her own form of expression, her unique feature (Petzinger, K 21, p. 6: exception), her “own, confident grasp and (…) exceptional sensitivity for three-dimensional constellations” (K 30, p. 2) was, at this early point in the artist’s development, already evident to Zeller.

The first larger publication deals with two series of wood sculpture, Noyane and Kragkomplex (P 2. All sources preceded by P can be found in the publications directory on pages 270/271 of this book). Noyane is a Japanese type of roof construction. Angela Glajcar encountered the term in Klaus Zwerger’s book Das Holz und seine Verbindungen (Wood and Wood Joints), Basel/Berlin/Boston 1997. The book mainly deals with pure wood joints, i.e. those without any aids such as glue or metal, across the centuries and compares European and Japanese approaches. It provided the artist with a deeper understanding and a broader knowledge of the interaction of shape, force and mass. For Angela Glajcar, the Noyane works (1999-002 et al.) represent an important advancement on classic wood sculpture, since they are not made of one piece. Glajcar then tried to apply her accumulated knowledge about morticing and dovetail connections and to breathe life into the materials by assembling different parts, by ‘cantilevering’ and ‘elongating’. Titles such as Balance (1998-010) or Akrobat (1998-011) demonstrate that she is interested in balance and tension, in the interplay of stability and instability (Heinemann, K 10, p. 44). The reference to the human body and its movements, clearly present in the title Akrobat, is also in the tradition of Tim Scott’s works. For the effective forces in Scott’s works were also compared to those of the human body: “Just as in the human body, the elements of support and weight are one – here in each part they are played off against each other in different ways.” (Franz, Erich in: Tim Scott, Braunschweig 1988, p. 185)

In addition to dealing with the joints in fixed constructions, Zwerger’s book also examines soft constructs such as tents, sails and suspension bridges. Using soft and flexible materials in her own work seems an obvious next step to Angela Glajcar.


In the public reception of the artist, her works with paper start playing a major role only much later – explicitly from the Contrarius series in 2003 onwards (Petzinger’s basic assessment K 16, developed further in K 18, p. 30 and K 19, p. 14 ff.). Chronologically, first paper collages were already created in 1998, that is, only one year after the end of her studies. In March of that year, in preparation of the studio prize awarded by the Kunststiftung Erich Hauser, she created a small series of water colours with applied parts (1998-001 to 1998-004; Petzinger, cf. K 18, p. 31). These led to the monumental steel sculpture Akrobat (1998-008). The plastic effect of the glued-on papers exerted a lasting impression on the artist. Consequently, she returned to this concept in 1999 during the Asterstein Scholarship from the Ministry of Culture of Rhineland-Palatinate, when she tried to convert these works to a larger format. The result was a cycle of works (1999-007 to 2000-010) where she experimented with painted and lined up sheets applied to a carrier paper. However, it was only once she began to distribute the papers onto 150 cm wide sheets, paint them with broad brushes and then interlace and nail them directly onto the wall (2000-012; 2000-013), that she was happy with the result. Here she found the plastic quality she had been looking for (Petzinger, K 19, p. 14). Thus, the well-known and much-quoted (K 16, S. 1; K 19, S. 15 etc.) statement by the artist that “the paper came to me” seems to be misunderstood as an expression of a more passive position. It is only Barbara Auer who describes the move away from wood and steel as an active decision and as an act of liberation (K 1, p. 61). Auer’s description of the energetic artist who meets every challenge head-on (K 1, p. 61; similar: Petzinger, K 21, p. 17) corresponds perfectly with the aspirations of the woman behind the works.

Excursus: Biography

Using her astonishing powers of self-regulation (cf. Bowlby, l.c., p. 419), the artist developed a solution for her home life that is at odds with her family tradition: she put a stop to her restlessness and joined Toni, her husband. Both her children, Yelena (b. 2000) and Yara (b. 2003), by now almost adolescents, are as tied to the land as their father. For Angela Glajcar, her family is her force field. She experiences the lack of role models for a life as a woman artist as an opportunity to develop her individual solution. Renouncing the out-dated image of the heroic (male) artist, who, monk-like, only lives for him-self and his art, Angela Glajcar manages to strike a balance between her ambitious professional aims and a fulfilling family life. She summarizes it as follows: “I have always applied myself to pursuing my goals, even more so since sculpture became my main purpose in life. My children are an additional motivation for me to apply myself even more determinedly. But they were not the cause of it.”

Private life and work were running in parallel inasmuch as using paper as a material also gave her freedom (cf. Auer, K 1, p. 61). She actively removed herself from any direct comparison with classic positions in sculpture by occupying a “niche” (Mertes, K 15, p. 84): she developed the unique technique of additive paper installations with rips and tears. The artist always strongly protested against having the “classic academy training (…), the traditional way of working” (Dellwing, K 6, p. 7; von Campenhausen, K 3, p. 33) and the employment of “classic materials” (Auer, K 1, p. 61, Petzinger, K 18, p. 31) applied to the results of her work. Her anger at the term “traditional”2 is what drove her to set herself apart. In addition, there are requirements posed by content: the wooden sculptures are not rooted in any particular space, they do not require any specific location (Fellbach-Stein, K 7, p. 3). Other viewers disagree. For example, Jürgen Knubben does mention the “dialogical relationship between material and space” ( K 13, p. 63).

Herbert Dellwing even called an early review of her works “Correspondence in Space” (K 6, p. 7), thus alluding to the titles of a whole series of sculptures by the artist (from 2002-004, intermittently until 2002-013). The artist, however, wanted to react more to existing spaces (cf. Strohm, K 27, p. 14). Transporting and reassembling the objects, some of which weighing thousands of kilos, at a different location, without any adequate reaction to the space that the artist could sense, was enervating to her. Having turned her attention to flexible materials, she experienced each new exhibition space as a new, an empty studio3. Despite the precision and reliability of the planning and drafting processes, the choice of material means that the work on-site has become the decisive factor of her sculpture. A welcome effect of working with paper – and later with glass fabric – is the relative independence from tools and helpers. Except for the support of Caroline Strack, her studio assistant, who lends an experienced hand with scaffolding or particularly large volumes, for example, the artist does not need anyone else for her installations. This is the case even with monumental works. Thus, the “most important part” (Beitin, K 3, p. 23; and below p. 62, similar: Auer, K 2, p. 56) of her work is free of distractions and technical limitations. Through the material, Glajcar’s sensitivity for movement and space is heightenend (cf. Petzinger, K 16, p. 4).

Excursus: Paper and Art

The Association of German Paper Manufacturers estimates the per capita consumption of paper in Germany to be more than 250 kg per year. Hardly surprising then that paper is considered profane (see Schwarz, K 25, p. 1) and ubiquitous. It is mainly used as a carrier of information, for example as a newspaper, a book, a letter, money or as wrapping. Judging from the types of paper encountered every day, it seems a material that is light, fragile (cf. Beitin, K 3, p. 23) and transient (Wichtendahl, K 29, p. 74). However, depending on quality and layering, paper can be heavy and very resilient (cf. Beitin, l.c. et al.). Paper consists of natural ingredients and is as perishable as a natural tissue. However, it is not a raw material, but is manufactured by hand or mechanically. Thus, paper assumes a middle position between the natural and the artificial.

In contrast to wood or metal it takes on colour without being coloured itself. Mostly, it can be processed without any tools, although this sometimes requires substantial strength. Easily agitated, set in motion, it can cast a moving shadow. Due to electronic data transfer, the use of paper should really be in decline, but this is not the case. Far from it, we are using ever more paper, and its cultural significance remains strong. An empty sheet of paper and an unread book continue to excert fascination. Metaphors such as “turning over a new leaf” or “paper doesn’t blush” refer to human activities that involve paper in a passive, serving role. In Western art, too, paper generally assumes such a passive, serving function as a mere carrier of images for photographs, drawings, watercolours and prints (cf. Hübl, K 11, p. 10, von Campenhausen, K 5, p. 33 et al.; quite different in Asia: Petzinger, K 21, pp. 4/5).

In the 1960s many artists began to work with everyday materials. In their search for materials “free of tradition,” the artists also used paper (cf. Bardt, Juliane: Kunst aus Papier. Zur Ikonographie eines plastischen Werkmaterials der zeitgenössischen Kunst, Hildesheim/Zürich/New York 2006, p. 13). Robert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella experimented with paper pulp (Petzinger, K 21, p. 5), and Claes Oldenburg and Niki de Saint Phalle worked with similar materials. At the end of the 1960s, Frank Gehry developed an entire series of cardboard furniture. His famous wiggle chair was created in 1972. Emil Schumacher incorporated corrugated cardboard in his tactile pictures, turning parts of them into sculptural wall objects. A number of artists worked with silhouettes (e.g. Eduardo Chillida, Felix Droese), folding techniques (e.g. Eberhard Fiebig, Peter Weber) or relief technique (e.g. Josef Albers, Raimund Girke, Günther Uecker). However, just as the artists that work with book objects (e.g. Thomas Virnich, Franz Erhard Walther), they remain tied to the flat sheet of paper. An exception here is Peter Callesen (born 1967), who transforms silhouettes into true three- dimensionality. Recently, Andreas von Weizsäcker came to prominence with his transformation of everyday objects and monuments by making casts of them with handmade paper as a unique sculptural position. Peter Wüthrich (born 1962) and Jonathan Callan (born 1961) use books as the material for their sculptures.

While Wüthrich deals with the cultural and historical significance of books, Callan, like Angela Glajcar, only hints at this significance and mainly concerns himself with the material properties of the books. Other points of contact in art history specifically for Angela Glajcar’s works can be found with Jo Enzweiler and Oskar Holweck. The former combines serial sequencing (albeit side by side) of paper with manual ripping and the effect of creating three-dimensional objects. His work, too, gives rise to associations with landscapes and rock formations, despite being equally abstract. With a few exceptions, Oskar Holweck, a member of the ZERO movement, uses exclusively white, industrially manufactured paper, like Angela Glajcar, and rejects pliable masses of paper that could be cast like plaster or concrete. Holweck destroys the white sheets in different ways, such as scratching or tearing. Then, the sheets are usually fanned out from their binding (ill. p. 35) Angela Glajcar for her part arranges the sheets one after another at identical intervals, thus creating entire three-dimensional objects on the inside of these constructs. Recently, she created several objects that, although reversing the process by compressing the sheets of paper at one corner, in their appearance resemble the direction Holweck has taken (2012-003 ff).

Despite the PaperArt Biennial and various scientific papers on the subject, beginning with Dorothea Eimert through to Juliana Bardt’s dissertation (l.c.), paper as a material in sculpture leads a marginal existence. The concept of “made for eternity,” which the 1960s were already supposed to see out (Bardt, l.c., p. 13), seems quite resilient when it comes to sculpture. Angela Glajcar, however, does not think much of it (Beitin, K 3, p. 23 and below p. 62).

Exploring paper

From her gouache paintings, Angela Glajcar developed her first central paper cycle: the Contrarius series (from 2002-016). The title is derived from “contra” for the black-and-white contrast of the works (cf. Petzinger, K 19, p. 15). The sheets of paper have been brushed irregularly with black paint and behave differently from untreated paper (Petzinger, K 18, p. 30 and K 21, p. 10). This contrast, too, was consciously made use of by the artist when tearing and installing the sheets. This was the first time that she used shadows as a part of her sculptures. Galerie Haasner in Wiesbaden were the first to exhibit in 2003 a small selection of these works alongside wooden and steel objects. Renate Petzinger, who at the time was head curator at the Landesmuseum Wiesbaden, discove-red the works at a visit to the gallery and took them as a starting point for a first review, which was later published in a somewhat expanded version (K 16, pp. 30-31, K 19, pp. 14/15; and about Terforations K 19, p. 46) and which includes fundamental observations on the work of Angela Glajcar.

In the studio, she continued with the Contrarius series, increasing the works in size (e.g. 2003-012 to 2003-019). Due to their fragility and firm ties to certain locations, none of these works were preserved. Angela Glajcar sees them as working copies, enabling her to learn more about paper as a material and about its possibilities. Alongside her work on the Contrarius series, she continued to experiment with applied sheets of paper. The Conballare series (starting with 2004-018, intermittently through to 2006-066) is dominated by transparent Wenzhou Paper onto which she applied black painted paper, with the resulting impression of a veil or vegetable tissue. The term Conballare includes the Italian word for to dance, “ballare,” thus returning to the theme of human movement. Here, the artist is dealing with the subject of movement patterns on stage. Just as the view from above onto a stage more clearly reveals the utilization of space than looking at a peep box, the Conballare series also reveals formations in their creation and dissolution. The title is also a nod towards the Contrarius series, and its ambiguous position between “contra,” i.e. contrast and opposition, and the new meaning by shortening the term to “con” (together, approaching) was chosen by the artist deliberately4.

The reference to the performing arts, to the theatre, can also be seen in the way the artist deals with light and shadow. Appropriately, Auer talks about the “stage-managed lighting control” (K 2, p. 60) of her installations.

In 2004 the works began to move away from the wall. Reminiscent of the mobiles of Alexander Calder, Angela Glajcar connected part of the rolled up sheets with coated wire, making them more agile and more elastic (2005-012, 2005-014, 2005-015). Here, the artist again revealed her interest in shadow play. The wire casts shadows onto the paper that resemble writing (Wichtendahl, K 28, p. 63), thus adding a contextual dimension. Angela Glajcar continued to search for her own solution to the problem of fuelling the interaction of paper with light and the movement of air.

At the end of each exhibition the artist was faced with the question of what to do with the works that were created for that specific location. In the case of the installations at the Kunstverein Ludwigshafen (Emy-Roeder-Preis, 2005-005), Angela Glajcar decided to give the work a chance to “live on,” by cutting the sheets and archiving them in the form of a book. This way, the edges of the tears lying upon one another are preserved – if compacted – and are given a new and different form (2005-052 and 2005-062). These archive books can be seen as a preliminary stage of the Terforations, which in effect are a (re-)expansion of the books. Proof of this was delivered by Glajcar at the end of 2005. When a Wiesbaden bank asked her for a concept for their large client service hall, the artist considered a work from the Contrarius series as too restless and, with a length of 18 metres, not suitable to the premises with regard to its size. Instead, Angela Glajcar proposed a work consisting of 361 sheets of paper (each with a height of 2.50 m and a width of 1.28 m), hung at equal intervals across the entire length of the room and threaded like pages of a book. The work was supposed to be installed only temporarily.

After a total of three small-scale models (2005-076, 2006-001 and 2006-002), which actually are works in their own right, she realised this first monumental Terforation (2006-003), which was so successful that the bank decided to buy and install it permanently. The title of the work – Terforation – which is also the title of an extensive group of works that is being developed to this day, is derived from “perforation” (Lat. foramen = hole) on the one hand, i.e. the perforation of hollow or flat objects. On the other hand, the term established by Glajcar alludes to the Latin word for earth, “terra,” with which the artist refers to “terra incognita,” unknown land, vigin soil. She herself is venturing into uncharted territory with her works. The view into her works, which never allow an unobstructed view to the other side, as if through a tunnel or a telescope, can also be seen as looking at unknown lands.

At the beginning of the Terforations she used sheets of the same dimensions (up to 2008-182, afterwards intermittently, e.g. 2009-028, 2009-054). Tears at the edges and the tearing of holes in the middle of the sheets result in insights, vistas and edge formations that catch the eye. The formal vocabulary that is being created in this way is what the work of Angela Glajcar as we know it today is based on. Initially, these were the Terforations where paper (and later sheets of glass fabric and acrylic screens) are arranged vertically. In effect, the Montcanus series is a variation on the Terforation theme and is characterised by sheets threaded horizontally on metal rods and skilfully arranged in the gravitational field. The sheets of paper behave differently depending on the size and shape of the torn-out piece in the middle. Their varied rhythms reveal intriguing lateral views. Whilst Angela Glajcar achieved animation in the works of the Contrarius series by means of rolling and bending, the Terforation works see the dramatic parts being moved to the inside, thus creating three-dimensional structures. The cavities that give rise to various interpretations as grottoes (Auer, K 1, p. 57) are therefore not the starting point of her creations, but the result of moving the momentum of tension inside. A room within a room is generated, and Angela Glajcar thus achieved a way of creating works that could stand alone and not depend on interaction with the space for which they were devised. The view that determines the Conballare series, that is, the view onto the stage, may be seen as a parallel for this. The interstices generate a keen awareness of space. For the missing bit between the sheets is not nothing, but, because it is part of the work, it becomes some- thing (cf. Hanten, K 8, p. 90 and Beitin below p. 66).

The Blocs are the concentrated form of this movement of the dramatic momentum to a space that is clearly separated from the outside (e.g. Terbloc 2008-154). Like a Terforation which is stacked (horizontally) without spacing – this is how their creation can be described. Here, the tears at the centre of the Blocs are of greater importance than the peripheral tears. The object boxes as reliefs distinguish themselves from their surroundings by means of their presentation within a frame or an enclosed hood. The emphasis is placed on the edges of the tears. One fancies one can see entire landscapes in them.

The Arsis group of works (2009-001, 2009-073, 2009-085) consists of three monumental installations which were created for the Kunstverein Ludwigshafen, the KunstRaum Hüll and the Österreichisches Papiermachermuseum. In contrast to the Montcanus series and many of the Terforations, these works were not intended to create a room within a room, thus isolating themselves from the surroundings, but instead fully dominate the space they found themselves in and, supported by sparse lighting, reveal their meaning. It is remarkable that Barbara Auer intuitively grasped the reference when she talked about “enormous, hollow bodies like hulks of ships” (K 2, p. 60). The relative darkness serves to sharpen the viewers’ senses when exploring the installation, which looks different from each position in the room. Most of Angela Glajcar’s works do not touch the ground but seem to be suspended. In this, the Arsis block is an exception. However, the title refers to the Greek word for “to rise, to soar,” thus clearly indicating that the works are not about being grounded, but about the transition to being suspended, to flying.

Other materials: plastics, glass fabric, mixed media

Although for Angela Glajcar paper was the material, the one with which she was able to express herself perfectly, she came to realise that it was limiting her when it came to outdoor installations, particularly locations involving water, or with regard to strict fire protection requirements in public buildings (cf. Wichtendahl, K 29, p. 74). Here too, she came up with intelligent solutions that were by no means compromises. She selected materials that met the given requirements and shared the distinctive characteristics of paper. Barbara Auer summarized these as follows (K 1, p. 56): “Flexibility, translucence or transparence, and similar edge formations when being broken, sawn or torn.” Between 2005 and 2006 Angela Glajcar developed, with the support of a large German chemical company, plastic objects made of acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) (intermittently 2005-051 to 2009-002), predominantly for outdoor installation. A light blue pigment was added to the compound, but it remains translucent. When heated, it can be easily moulded. Once it has cooled down, it is inherently stable and weatherproof. Its mouldability and the shadows it casts (particularly in combination with metal joints in reference to the wire mobiles; c.f. Petzinger, K 21, p. 15 and K 22, p. 12) are interesting features for Angela Glajcar. By using this material, however, she became dependent on industrial production cycles, which also restricted her flexibility. Subsequently, she discovered the more freely available acrylic for outdoor installations. With the plastics (ASA, later acrylic), Angela Glajcar progressed in a similar way as she had with paper before: at the beginning, the material was bent and rolled, but eventually even the plastic works consist of flat, initially identical, sheets arranged one behind the other and with parts taken out or removed from the edges. In her search for waterproof, non-flammable and yet mobile materials, and after careful analysis of all required features and characteristics, Angela Glajcar finally hit upon glass fabric. Starting in 2010, she began to create additive works up to a monumental format (2010- 083, 2011-009 and 2011-072). Glass fabric is also a material that the artist can work with alone, which she appreciates. The tissue is cut with scissors and individual strands are picked out using tweezers. It is not possible, however, to tear glass fabric. In contrast to paper, glass fabric is point elastic, so that it is easier to curve. More easily activated than paper, the glass fabric works can, depending on the movement of air at the place of installation, almost be described as kinetic objects. Kirsten Schwarz in 2008 described frozen movement as the artist’s main theme (K 25, p. 4). With regard to the paper works, Beitin takes a similar line (K 3, pp. 24/25). The glass fabric works thus seem to take the artist one step further, since the objects not only depict movement, but actually carry out a curving, flowing motion (Mennekes, K 23, pp. 12 and 14).

While ASA resin is bluish and paper white, glass fabric is of a greenish hue. Angela Glajcar considers its behaviour in certain lights, be it light falling through coloured glass windows,
artificial light or daylight, as an intrinsic part of the work. The interaction with incoming daylight in the case of a monumental work in Neuwied was in fact so spectacular that a small series of Diasecs was produced in 2011, based on photographs of details (2011-031 to 2011-033).

In the meantime, light coming through coloured windows and falling on her large installations, be they paper or glass fabric, has become part of the artist’s many site-specific installations in churches (ill. pp. 53, 60, 70). In general, installations in sacred buildings are subject to specific opportunities and conditions (c.f. Schlimbach, K 24, p. 10). The surroundings alone imbue the works with a specific contextual dimension (for purpose and effect of art in sacred spaces see: Raguin, K 14, pp. 22–24). In this context it becomes particularly obvious how each interpretation with regard to shape, object and content depends solely on the viewer.



The differences in effect of her various materials are of particular interest to the artist. The haptic potential of paper (Auer, K 2, p. 60) develops in Angela Glajcar’s layerings and, despite the wealth of associations (Auer, K 2, p. 61) that her works evoke in the viewer, they always return to certain, recurring motives in the reception of her work: rock formations, slate, terraced landscapes and erosions of earth in bodies of water (cf. Auer, K 2, p. 61), tunnels (e.g. Beitin, K 3, p. 24; Schlimbach, K 24, p. 10), caves (ibid), but also clouds (Wichtendahl, K 29, p. 74) are some of those frequently named. Her early works, made of wood or steel, were described as resembling human or animal bodies (e.g. Fellbach-Stein, K 7, p. 3).

Once she began using elastic materials, the associations with animate objects disappeared, however. Only Kirsten Schwarz (K 25, p. 1) mentions bird wings, but she may well have been thinking of the act of flying itself and not of the shape. Petzinger (K 21, p. 17) feels reminded of a Chinese dragon. The characteristics of paper and the works’ physical presence, especially in the large formats, transport a feeling of safety, warmth and security (cf. Auer, K 2, p. 60). In the case of the expansive installations this effect is heightened due to the sound-absorbing qualities of paper and its interstices. The objects’ dynamic and the simultaneous muffling of sound increases the physical presence of the works. The works seem like a frozen movement, thus giving rise to reflections on the meaning of time (Beitin, K 3, p. 24/25 and below p. 67; cf. also Petzinger, K 18, p. 31).
By associating a ship’s hull (Auer, K 2, p. 60) a connection is made to one of the artist’s early experiences. Many reviewers associate entire landscapes, even if the works thus described are of a compact format. In a way, the installations defy any referential determination of size. Even the smallest of the Terforations is composed in such a way that without any reference objects it is impossible to estimate the dimension of the work. The advantage of the monumental works is their accessibility. In the case of the smaller works, viewers can assume different perspectives without changing places, thus gaining a full view of the work.

The plastic works seem colder, and the jagged formations at their edges seem at times more aggressive, abrupt, and resemble broken ice floes (Auer, K1, p. 56; Schwarz, K 25, p. 5), although some Terforations have also been described as “age-old glacier formations” (Petzinger, K 20, p. 46). Where paper works and plastic works clearly differ is in their reaction to light. Paper absorbs the surrounding light, making its own colours more vibrant (Beitin, K 3, p. 23). There is an interplay of light and shade on the inside and outside of the works, turning the large sculptures into multi-dimensional pieces (Auer, K 2, p. 60; Mennekes, K 23, p. 14). The paper’s translucence suggests a walk-in arrangement of lithophanes. The resulting effect is a blurring of the borders between what is real and what is imagined (Auer, K 2, p. 60). The paper used is not coloured. Only the cardboard of the Blocs (2008-038 intermittently through to 2010-025) is not white but has the “non-colour” grey. The surrounding light, however, creates “an infinite range of tonalities” (Beitin, K 3, p. 24).

Yet all of Angela Glajcar’s works have in common “a harmonious interplay of lightness and weight, stillness and movement, light and shade” (Auer, K 1, p. 56; similar also: Mertes, K 15, p. 83), and we experience clarity, beauty and harmony (Auer, K 1, p. 57; similar also: Wichtendahl, K 28, p. 63). Angela Glajcar touches “our perception, our subconscious, our being” (Schlimbach, K 24, p. 10). The reason her works are of such “unreal beauty” (Petzinger, K 22, p. 12) is best summed up in Reinhard Knodt’s dictum of “atmosphere” (K 12, p. 4) when describing the effect of Angela Glajcar’s works. The way space is experienced is subjective, and more than a simple geometric expanse. With her installations, Angela Glajcar succeeds in making us sense an occurrence, succumb to a mood, and not know but sense something (according to Knodt, K 12, p. 4). Renate Petzinger is taking the same line when she talks about the “aura” of the works (K 21, p. 12). Manfred Strohm’s approach, describing the effect of her works as “space turned into poetry” (K 27, p. 14), is in the same vein.


Similar to the way Angela Glajcar is set apart from traditional sculptural positions, her work is also impossible to subsume under a specific artistic category or a specific “school.” In fact, “sculpture” may not even be the right term, as her works are not even fully described by the basic sculptural processes of carving or moulding – for the latter is an additive process, which applies to the layering and stacking processes, but the breaking and tearing processes are more in line with the subtractive process of carving (cf. Beitin below, p. 66). Furthermore, sculpture is generally taken to refer to individual works, and Angela Glajcar’s large installations in particular do not seem to fit this description. Consequently, Andreas Beitin draws on the effect and not the genesis of the works when he describes it as “pictorial” (K 3, p. 24).

Suspended in space, the sheets seem like broad white brushstrokes (Beitin on the Arsis installation (2009-001, 2009-073, 2009-085) K 3, p. 24). With regard to the artistic position of the works, Andreas Beitin suggests ”expressive Minimalism“ as a reference (K 3, p. 25). Here, Beitin reflects the repetitive use of industrially manufactured materials, a key characteristic of Minimalism (similar in her approach also von Campenhausen, K 5, p. 33). Angela Glajcar’s way of stacking and creating a certain rhythm meets this condition. However, Minimalism is characterised by hiding any personal signature, whereas Angela Glajcar is particularly concerned about personal expression and authorship (cf. Hübl, K 11, p. 13; similar: Heinemann, K 10, p. 44). Aware of this seeming contradiction, Beitin qualifies his comparison with the association of expressiveness: “For there is no other word to describe her way of dealing with industrially manufactured materials than ‘expressive’.” Since her works are structured following precise rules, Hübl positions them in the region of concrete or conceptual art (K 11, p. 13), thus pursuing the inner connection to Jo Enzweiler even further. However, the engagement with the material (be it paper, glass fabric or plastic) cannot be planned, which is generally the case with concrete positions. In addition to further approaches, Beitin finally explores Angela Glajcar’s references to Deconstructivism and Iconoclasm (in detail below, p. 62–69) and concludes: “Despite all conceivable references to various artistic positions in history, her own position is by no means eclectic, but unique.”(Beitin, ibid, p. 69)

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