Manfred Kielnhofer, a self-taught artist, works in a wide variety of mediums from painting, film, and photography to performance, installation, and sculpture. Kielnhofer’s work focuses on the human figure, with a special interest in the body’s various forms and movements. He uses the human form as a tool either in place of a canvas or in collaboration to produce large-scale installations or performances.
First created in 2006, Kielnhofer’s Guardians of Time are the most recognizable works in his oeuvre. The first set of these sculptures, made of stone and installed in public places, resembled realistic yet mysterious figures. In isolation or in a group, the cloaked statues intrigued and perplexed viewers as they appeared to be performing a ritual. Furthering the enigmatic nature of the sculptures was the ease of installation – the figures moved so easily and without fuss, making them seem even more real.
In 2012, Kielnhofer created a new series of miniature guardians using plastic, demonstrating that size and scale have no bearing on the effect of his Guardians of Time. To date, Kielnhofer continues to create and install the Guardians of Time sculptures all over the world. In an array of human configurations and colors, the sculptures continue to puzzle those who happen upon these public installations which include the Cass Sculpture Foundation in the UK and most recently in the context of the 2015 Venice Biennale, the Global Art Affairs Foundation “Personal Structures – Crossing Borders” exhibition at the Palazzo Mora in Venice.