Stone for Meditation

Karl Prantl

Pöttsching 1923 - 2010 Pöttsching

Stone for Meditation

Black-swedish granite

H 41.5 cm, W 90 cm, D 33 cm

Karl Prantl (1923–2010) came to sculpture ‘late’, in 1950. He completed his studies in painting under Albert Paris Gütersloh and Herbert Böckel at ‘Schillerplatz’ and initially worked in wood and eventually – from the mid-1950s onwards – in lime-sandstone, especially in St. Margarethen in Burgenland from 1958 on. Always on the search for solid materials, Karl Prantl discovered the winter docks on the Danube at the beginning of the 1960s. This was where the City of Vienna tipped highly valuable granite material from demolished buildings that had been architecture during the Habsburg Monarchy. The granite was used for building the riverbank. Prantl’s first works in granite are from found material stemming from these surreal circumstances: Vienna had entered the age of concrete.
The radical-abstract design of his sculptures, such as ‘Appeals’ or ‘On Meditation’, made from thick, monochrome, black granite, caused a sensation in the early 1960s. The shift to the material itself, evoked by differentiated breaks in the hand-scoured surfaces (such as hollows, lines and elevations) broke with the entire representational tradition of post-war modernism, with Cubism and Realism, for example. The black granite is the ‘symbol of a search for abstraction’, according to Kazimir Malevič, which does not arise from constructive calculation, but hints rather at a grounding, a returning to and making sense of the material, evoking and celebrating it. The extremely complex structure, brought about by manual modulation, the balanced proportions with the inner equilibrium of the recumbent sculpture – ‘Stone for Meditation from 2002’ is the manifestation of a constantly recurring ‘devotion to the bones of our Mother Earth’, as Prantl expressed it. Towards the end of his life, sanding the stone himself was of increasingly profound importance – his own health and well-being depended on it.
Sebastian Prantl mit Zitaten von Peter Weiermayr © S.P. / TAW 1