Extreme contrasts between large and small are characteristic of many of Steff Lüthi’s recent works. His forms reflect existential thinking: measured against the vastness of the world the human being appears tiny. But the relationship is dialectically interwoven, which naturally makes a fountain sculpture, with its opposites of rest and movement flowing into and against one another, particularly symbolic. It is above all the many different figures which command the viewer’s attention, while the body on which they move – an archaic form such as a circular or oval bowl – recedes into the background.
This corresponds with the ambivalence of Steff Lüthi’s image of humanity. His work is based on a horror of all the damage that a single aggressive or destructive person can do to his fellow human beings and the natural environment. But equally strong is his reaction to images in the mass media which as witnesses of current events show human beings as victims. His anger at world politics combine with personal experience to produce the stories which his figures appear to be telling us and each other. They are pronounced individuals who when assembled in a large group nevertheless become a mass.
This makes any study of them in a certain sense interactive: just as in everyday life, we feel challenged to look for the individual within the crowd. Yet for all our immense individual differences, we are all made of the same material. Translated into the artist’s language, this can be taken literally. It’s precisely the bronze in which all the figures are cast, an energy-laden material– and energy plays a particularly significant role in Lüthi’s work – that heightens the presence of these tiny figures, who despite their smallness possess a certain grandeur and in their nothingness communicate an intimation of absolute power.