I have had the honour and pleasure of knowing Simon P. Schrieber as sculptor and family friend since 2002. So when I returned to Berlin after an 11-year hiatus, it was comforting to be able to touch base with an existing network that took me under their wing as I re-built my life here. When I decided to launch a new series on Hidden Treasures of Berlin, the decision to begin with the Schrieber works came naturally. A writing coach told me years ago, always begin with what you know and understand well. Leave the complicated research for later.
Tucked away in the heart of Neu Köln, the Turkish district of Berlin, is an artist’s atelier that will enthral and enrapture as it did me. Each Simon Schrieber sculpture (not to be confused with his father, Ludwig Gabriel Schrieber, the renown sculptor, painter and former director of the Art Academy in Berlin) is an experience that moves the soul and not just a feast for the eyes. It is quite clear that the Schrieber penchant, father and son, for abstract interpretations of the human form runs in the family and make their way into exquisite sculptures that defy classical standards and conventions, thus elevating artists the raw form to soulful and bohemian elegance while still retaining the all formality of sculpture.
A Simon Schrieber sculpture is raw, passionate, erotic, controlled, and unashamed. At first glance, the pieces are pure abstract, especially with a lack of detail to the face and a unique emphasis on the eyes. The longer you linger on a piece, however, the details of the body that have transformed bronze or stone into a manifestation of the human condition and celebration of life emerge with eerie perfection.
Paired with the luxury of time and leisure, allow your eyes to travel down the statues and you will experience the masterful hands of the artist that have intimate knowledge of both the elements he works with as well as the subject matter. Simon discourages over interpretation of his sculptures – take it in as it is, raw and direct.
Don’t look for hidden layers of philosophy or theology in the work. Instead, just stand in the presence and soak in the passion and honesty of love, family, loss, sadness, pride, perseverance, and strength. There are few artists who can convey eroticism in a controlled elegance, paying homage to light and shadow, curves and posture, angles, grounding and air.