(1934 – 2008) , sculptor, his legacy.
Willem Massa was not a ‘mass-man’ . As long as he could continue to work on his huge sculptures it was no problem for him that only e few people saw his art. But it is admirable – and of course also romantic – that he followed his inner drive so fanatically.
“There is no usefulness,
I have to be busy with the process,
not with the result of it.”
In spite of this Willem Massa had a message. It is a message about the world in the past ánd the world of the present tó the world of the present . He told the significant big stories the way he understood them. He translated these stories in often very high wooden sculptures referring to mythologies, the tradition of Judaism and Christianity . Together with the big, undeniable stigmas in our history like the Holocaust they form a source of inspiration in his work. He also got inspired by the Japanese Aikido of which he was a fervent practitioner. (see photograph)
Willem Massa made the stories about these subjects into stories of his own. As an artist he knew – in a unique way and with the skills of a craftsman who knows how to work with a living material like wood – how to give a new life to the big stories of the world.
“The main things in life like relations, love and the world we live in are the subjects of the sculptures I make.”
Although I already live for a long time in the city of Nijmegen I never saw the work of Willem Massa in Lent only until I was invited in the granary in Nieuw Beerta after his death. There I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was it too much, too big, too imposing? No, it was something different. From a certain distance the sky high sculpture may look frightening. But if you dare to take a step towards the work, into the whole work, it lifts you up and you become part of it. Then you are in the world of Willem Massa.
I invite you to come into that world.
neerlandicus en kunsthandelaar