German artist Hans Panschar and the Atlantic Bridge

We are very pleased to have an interview with Artist Hans Panschar, who is now on the Queen Mary II on his way from Hamburg, Germany to New York. For the trip, Hans will be sculpting his “Atlantic Bridge” which unites into one sculpture the Brooklyn Bridge with Hamburg’s Harbour bridge.

Hans, you have turned small objects (matches and pencils) into oversized sculptures and vice-versa (boats and bridges). Any sense in that? Through changing the scale, objects sometimes can take on new or different meanings or it makes the observer to rethink the meaning.

Do you have a regimented schedule while you work, or is it based on how you feel? I always have topics or series in which I work in a very focused way. Although it can happen that I have a new idea during the work on one sculpture and I start a second one. One leads to another. Sometimes I have to concentrate that my work does not end up in confusion and chaos.

What preparations do you undertake for a sculpture like the Atlantic Bridge? Do you use Computer Aided Design (CAD), blueprints or is it just a matter of having a keen eye? Have you done a so-called “recce” and walked the bridges before you sculpt them? I don´t use CAD at all. I do look at pictures and photos. I do a lot of classic sketches with pencil, sometimes when I am very sure about a new sculpture I will sketch directly with the chainsaw into the wood. Sometimes I dream sculptures or pictures of them.

How did you come to think of the Atlantic Bridge? I was asked to create an idea concerning the theme because the trip on the Queen Mary 2 is related to a Hamburg-based society called Atlantische Brücke. The German newspaper “Die Zeit” is hosting a readers tour on the QM2, concerning the Atlantische Brücke and they asked me to create a symbol for the trip.

Do you prefer a certain type of wood? I work with every material that comes along my way. I have worked for example with fiberglass, with concrete and even with bread. My background as an artist is craftsmanship, as I am a skilled wooden boat builder and a master of furniture making. Thus, my principle material has been wood, and I use it a great deal. My preferred wood is oak, as it is durable and also because of it contains Tannin, which makes it very reactive. I use this potential to obtain different colours out of it.

What happens if you hit a knot in the wood? It forces me to find a deviation or to find a new approach to the first idea. I rarely complain about that, often it makes the sculpture more authentic.

You will be creating an Atlantic Bridge on your way from Hamburg to New York. Does it mean more that you will be bridging the two continents while sculpting one out of wood? I think it is an interesting “picture” to build a bridge over the Atlantic on a ship that is actually crossing the Atlantic. Almost a poem.

You may have an audience on the cruise….is that a distraction? What about poor weather and a rocking ship? I will find out what it feels like. Usually I prefer to work by myself in my atelier. When the QM2 will be rocking and in poor condition I certainly will not work on the sculpture. I will then find myself a neat and cozy place to enjoy the view on the wild Atlantic ocean.

If you had a choice of one favourite bridge, would it be New York or Hamburg? Or somewhere else? The Sydney Harbour Bridge would be my choice. I do not think that it is a very aesthetic one, but as a young man I travelled around the world and have very personal memories of that bridge.

Do you intend to create more bridge-related sculptures? We will find out what happens, inspirations and ideas are hard to plan.

Is there one sculpture or group of sculptures of which you are most proud? It is always changing, in the moment I work very hard and am focused on combined wood and concrete sculptures.

Further information on Hans at

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