Petra Brambrink

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Stone sculptor and stone carving instructor for the visually impaired

If I had to name one theme that was a focus throughout my life, it would be relationships and communication in different cultures.
Whether working as a health care practitioner, or studying cultural anthropology and African languages or, eventually, working as a family therapist in private practice, my interest in relations and interactions continues to grow.

When I first started carving stone, I had no idea where the creative ideas came from. I just liked doing it. Later, after several workshops and working with fellow artists, I realized that I had simply transferred my interest in inter-relational communications into a new medium: stone.
While still a family therapist in Europe, I found the “living sculpture” to be one of the most fascinating methods to use with families or groups: People express their relations, troubles and feelings in an unorthodox way by creating a human sculpture through the position, posture and expression of their bodies. The three-dimensional aspect of creating these living sculptures provided new ways to look at problems and to find solutions together.

I apply these principles to my sculptural work as well. My art centers on the dynamic interaction between the various parts of a given sculpture, rather than on a static form. Often comprised of various pieces, my sculptures are meant to be touched and rearranged by the viewers, allowing them to communicate creatively and directly with the work before them. Each individual piece stands for itself but is also a lively and important part of the whole set to demonstrate the complexity and variability of human systems. A shift in configuration will often entirely alter the perception of the grouping as a whole and thus remind us how differing perspectives can change our interpretation and understanding of a given situation.

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