Visual Artists on Chess and Chess Pieces

Visual artists have always been fascinated by the royal game, chess – regardless of whether they are painters or sculptors. To appreciate the art of chess, one needs to know the basics. So before we indulge in the wonderful art of chess and chess pieces, learn the basics from chess teachers that offer lessons online here.

In this post, let us bring you back to magnificent exhibits of chess and chess pieces in Berlin exhibitions like “Schadows Schachclub” and the “Kunstgiesserei Flierl” that featured the contemporary work of four Berlin sculptors and a painter.

Visual Artists on Chess and Chess Pieces

Chess is a sport that, like a picture or a sculpture, takes place in a spatially limited setting, yet offers endless possibilities for expression. A mental struggle, an intellectual boxing match with clear rules, and at the same time a playground for almost anarchistic development. Here are visual artists’ own artistic interpretations of chess and its chess pieces.

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Henner Kuckuck’s chess set

Made of epoxy resin, created in 1965 during his time in West Berlin at the Hochschule für Künste. The rounded, curved figures dwell as minimalistic sculptures on the oversized 90×90 cm board. It almost seems as if they want to evade a clash with the opposing camp.

Trakia Wendisch chess set

A set made of silver with colored patina with faceless human and animal figures. Only the square or round towers with unusual spiral staircases stand out.

Marco Flierl and Diether Münchgesang.

Figures with human characters. The mental sport comes along as a cheerfully serious matter of prancing or standing at attention buddies; the scuffle is in the air.

Rudolf Borkenhagen – The Wooden Chess Table

While the playing surfaces almost correspond to those of a normal tournament board, Rudolf Borkenhagen’s wooden chess table breaks the dimension. A side length of one and a half meters emphasizes the monumentality of the game and at the same time the aspect of the military conflict. Nevertheless, the vase-sized plaster figures with bronze are relatively light. The right overview is particularly important when playing tokens resembling strange mythical creatures.

Rudolf Borkenhagen – The Airy Chess Pieces

Borkenhagen’s second chess set presents the complete opposite. an almost dematerialized type of figure was created from a single iron wire. Pure abstraction: “Airy” toy urges internalization; nobody should disturb the spirit.

The Chess Players’ Thoughts in Colours by Diether Münchgang

Aside from the three-dimensional exhibits, there is a cycle of six oil paintings by Diether Münchgang on the subject of chess. The hustle and bustle on the 64 squares are scrutinized for positive and negative facets. In Diether’s work, the whole chess people sink apocalyptically into a mud fight, there a lonely pawn behind a red and white barrier is gawked at by a crowd with pale faces. Sometimes the turmoil of battle escalates in a colorful explosion and only a small farmer stands aside, uninvolved. Elsewhere, without changing camps, human and artificial figures meet. Next to it, the course of the game is documented as a wild mess: Mixtures of colors on certain squares and concentric paths symbolize dynamic sequences of moves.

The Begegnung

A similar motif of chess as a dance of thoughts under the title “Begegnung” is more reminiscent of an expressionist ballet performance. It is difficult to understand why in another picture two players sitting opposite each other have the motto “Unequal” because after all the essence of chess is characterized by a thoroughly democratic idea: before the first move everyone is equal, everyone can win.

Different visualizations with attractive superficial and enigmatic questions about the meaning of the ancient mental sport. Is life like a chess game or vice versa? Ultimately, everyone has to find the answer for themselves.