Novum Spatium: Dieter Balzer and Dirk Salz

JanKossen Contemporary is pleased to present Novum Spatium, a two-person show featuring German based artists Dirk Salz and Dieter Balzer, on view from March 16th to May 6th, 2017.

Novum Spatium, meaning New Space, explores the concept of perception in relation to our environment, physical space and one’s interaction within it.

Dieter Balzer, translates these ideas through pristine geometric abstraction, creating sculptural, minimalist form that deal with depth and negative space. Bright, intricate and overlapping; the complex elements built upon each other, carry the viewer’s eyes over and through an endless, looping playground of planes.


Elements of Balzer’s work run parallel to contemporary influences on graphic, industrial, and architectural design. The flatness of the vibrantly colored foils create a contemporary twist on the theories of non-representational neoplasticism, cubist sculpture and the Japanese Superflat movement.

Where Balzer uses 3-dimensional elements, the work of Dirk Salz approaches these concepts from another perspective. Instead of creating physical depth with his work, Salz toys with the impression of it. Salz’s uses simple, Supremacist compositions that seem to echo with their color transparency and smooth surfaces.

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These highly reflective pieces confront the viewer with their own image, and present an experience of shifting planes, and varying depths. Surrounding elements found within the work’s environment emerge and are mirrored as one moves back and forth between the self and the work.

Like John McLaughlin’s Light and Space movement, the works invoke a sense of temporality within one’s perception like a Robert Irwin or James Turrel installation; reinventing the world around us.

Together, the two artists create a visual dialogue that is crisp, energetic and articulate. Moving between the two bodies of work invokes a sense of moving between worlds, one that brightly invokes the geometric quality of architecture and the digital world that is so familiar to us, while the other allows us to reflect on the quality of space and our place within it.

Dieter Balzer studied at the Universities of Heidelberg and Chesterfield College of Art. His work can be viewed across Germany at the Stern-Wywiol Galerie in Hamburg and the Galerie Corona Unger in Bremen, Germany; and has previously shown across the United States and Canada. He currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Dirk Salz studied at RWTH in Aachen, Germany and lives and works in Mulheim an der Ruhr. Exhibitions include public institutions such as the Museum Katharinenhof, Kranenburg, Kunstmuseum Mülheim/Ruhr, Germany and has shown with various international galleries and art fairs.


While Dieter Balzer‘s works initially appear colorful and playful, the sculptures possess a geometric precision mirroring that of calculated engineering. Exploring the boundaries between two-  and three-dimensionality and positive and negative space, Balzer’s wood and foil creations engage viewers in a dialogue on space and form. Although inspired by a number of various art historical movements, the artist’s primary influence lay in Constructivism and Minimalism.

Dieter Balzer currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

In depth…Dieter Balzer


Balzers work are both colourful and playful, but have a geometric precion mirroring that of calculated engineering. Playing within the confines of two – and three-dimensionality and positive and negative space using materials such as wood and foil, his works presents the viewer a sculptural dialogue on space and form.

Balzer is inspired by various art historical movements, especially credited Constructivism and Minimalism, which is apparent in the forms of his works.

Dieter Balzer was born in Neuhofen/Pfalz, Germany in 1958 and attended the University of Heidelberg, College of Art in Chesterfield, England, and Statens Hogskole, in Bergen Norway. His work has been included in exhibitions throughout Germany and abroad, including at the Museum der Wahrnehmung in Graz, Austria, Wilhelm-Hack Museum, in Ludwigshafen, Germany and the Museum Ritter in Waldenbuch, Germany.

Dieter Balzer currently lives and works in Berlin.


Las obras de Balzer son coloridas y juguetonas, pero tienen una presión geométrica que se basa en la ingeniería calculada. Jugar en los confines de dos – tridimensionalidad y el espacio positivo y negativo utilizando materiales como la madera y el papel, sus obras presentan al espectador un diálogo escultórico sobre el espacio y la forma.

Sus obras están inspiradas en los movimientos históricos diferentes de arte, especialmente acreditado el constructivismo y el minimalismo, lo cual es evidente en las formas de sus obras.

Dieter Balzer nació en Neuhofen / Pfalz, Alemania en 1958 y estudió en la Universidad de Heidelberg, College of Art de Chesterfield, Inglaterra y Statens høgskole, en Bergen Noruega. Su obra ha sido incluida en exposiciones en toda Alemania y en el extranjero, incluso en el Museum der Wahrnehmung en Graz, Austria, Wilhelm-Hack Museum, en Ludwigshafen, Alemania y el Museo Ritter en Waldenbuch, Alemania.

Dieter Balzer Actualmente vive y trabaja en Berlín y sus obras puedes entrarlas en nuestra galeria, JanKossen.

Dieter Balzer Knows His Color Blocking

While looking at Dieter Balzer’s meticulous, overlapping stripes and bold checkers, I couldn’t help but think of the on-trend fashion equivalent — the mix-matched patterns and loud color blocking that have been everywhere this past summer. And now, so it seems, they’ve found their way to the walls of Gallery Sonja Roesch, where the Midtown space’s current exhibition features the Berlin artist’s newest works.

From either vantage point, both the fashion and the art are appealing for many of the same reasons — the use of bright, vibrant colors, of blue against green against purple against orange, are cheery and attention-grabbing. Meanwhile, the different patterns are unexpected but have an innate logic and surprising order, even when the bars and squares that make up these sculptures overlap.

Dieter, of course, isn’t copying some in-vogue style; the Sonja Gallery favorite been making reductive art like this for years, filling up the walls and floors here and in Europe with his colorful, linear sculptures. He has an exact system, too, creating his curiously named works (“Mesa,” “Flic Flac,” “Xeos,” “Manga”) based on a modular system of architecture and color. In this sense, every piece of adhesive foil-covered MDF has a place and a color and relates to other elements of the sculpture in a very specific way, making for works that are balanced despite their seeming disorder. Within all that spontaneity of color and pattern, there is a sense of logic, that Dieter is pulling the strings.

“Xeos (12/1)” by Dieter Balzer

While fashions may come and go, and color blocking will inevitably ebb and be replaced by something else entirely, Dieter may have the edge in the end. There is a timelessness to the artist’s objects, which elegantly cut through the white space. His clean, bright sculptures can hold up.

Published Thursday, September 20, 2012 Houston Press

“Dieter Balzer: Solo Show” September 2015 at JanKossen Gallery 529W 20th street