Erich Reusch is an artist who is hard to grasp by applying narrow stylistic criteria. Instead of developing and cultivating his artistic signature, he seeks to enter into dialogue with given contexts, leading him to ever new solutions of form and subject. This is certainly also true for his work in the synagogue of Stommeln which was conceived specifically for this location, and thus would not truly make sense anywhere else. Accordingly, it would be inconceivable to present it in other spatial contexts, because it develops a symbiosis with the room that could not be dissolved without harming the work.
So it becomes yet another installation that highlights Reusch’s departure from the autonomous, context-independent sculpture that was his hallmark as modern sculptor (in the narrow sense of being post-war art). Early on, during the 1950s, Reusch, a trained architect, had moved away from the subject of the statuesque core sculpture in order to grapple with space, the new fix point of his creativity. This interest is documented not least in his wall reliefs of the mid-1950s that resemble prototypes of a new dialogue with space. At times boldly, at other times hesitantly – as in the case of the red relief of 1956 – these works took first steps into three-dimensionality, while others were soon to follow. More and more, Reusch disassociated himself from the idea of space as an abstract variable, turning it instead into an event sphere not truly defined and accessed except through sculpture.
A case in point is the four-partite floor work done in 1965, which is considered the first post-war “floor-level” work of art. As the model shows, it was designed as constellation of irregularly cut steel surfaces, and was supposed to refer to the singularity of their individual form and to the – negatively defined – interstices. These are part of a work that derives its formal quality from the relationship, especially the proximity and distance of the flat, silhouette-like forms.