Michael Stumpf, sculptor: 'I like the analogy of sourdough. You take a piece and stuff grows from it'
Thursday 17 April 2014
Michael Stumpf has his studio in the east of Glasgow in an area commonly known as the Barras. He enjoys being near the Barrowland Ballroom, home to some of the city's best gigs. The studio, up three flights of stairs and with no lift, seems a strange choice for a sculptor.
Stumpf was born in Mannheim, Germany, in 1970. He studied art, first in Karlsruhe, before coming to the Glasgow School of Art on a fellowship. When he arrived from Germany, Glasgow "felt really good. I liked its roughness and it was small but fast."
Having trained in the Mackintosh Building he was delighted to be asked to do a show in its central gallery though it was a daunting prospect thanks to its celebrated decoration by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Stumpf wanted to "incorporate the activity of the art school", choosing to retain the old wooden Mackintosh benches and to reveal the normally hidden cupboards, "to activate the new building with the old".
After his studies, Stumpf, like many other artists, decided to make Glasgow his permanent home. "The discussion about art here is a really good one – it's about art, not the marketplace." He chose to move in with Wasps, an artistic collective whose intentions are to keep rents as low as possible. His building houses around 50 artists. "In an ideal world I would have a bigger space – I like to combine all these different processes that I'm very interested in. I would have different areas with different conditions so you don't have to set up and change, set up and change."
Stumpf's studio shows vestiges of his current work (Martin Hunter)
His studio shows vestiges of his current work. A plaster cast of a rock on the floor is one of the boulders that started a series of works. Post-it notes colour the wall neon pink with reminders of things yet to do. The pink theme continues in smaller sculptures – overgrown nuts and bolts doused in colour, the hues "of dusk and dawn: and of the abstraction of landscape", he says. They are not intended to be tasteful. "It is how to disrupt what one is thinking, and how to push oneself forward."
Like many artists I have visited recently, Stumpf works in series. "I like the analogy of sourdough. You take a piece from it and other stuff grows from it."
Stumpf's building houses around 50 artists: 'In an ideal world I would have a bigger space' (Martin Hunter)
The name of his show, This song belongs to those who sing it, relates to Now Sing, his word piece for the new Glasgow School of Art Building. I ask what its architect Steven Holl thinks of this lairy pink and orange piece, precariously poised on the balcony on the sleek green glass surface of his building. "I think he hates it!" says Stumpf emphatically, with a smile.
Michael Stumpf's This Song Belongs to Those Who Sing It is on show as part of the Glasgow International Festival, Glasgow School of Art (glasgowinternational.org) to 4 May
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
Best TV shows on Netflix: 26 series to binge on
'Phallic symbols' found hidden in famous Pre-Raphaelite painting 'Isabella' by John Everett Millais
Top Gear Burma episode breached Ofcom rules over Jeremy Clarkson's racial slur
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace