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Matchstick Men: The Art of Wolfgang Stiller

An installation consisting of man-sized matchsticksMatchstickmen, wood, rigid foam, acrylic paint

Wolfgang Stiller is a German sculptor who creates artworks that combine human figures with natural and man-made materials. The artist is known for his matchstick men -- larger-than-life sculptures of burnt out matches with realistic human faces. 

A sculptural installation of hanging shrimp trapsDeceive, plastic shrimp traps, lights


Stiller’s sculptural process incorporates found materials -- the artist began creating his matchstick men using facial moulds discarded from a film set combined with charred pieces of found wood. This utilization of found materials comes into play in many of the artist’s other series as well -- Deceive, a large, chandelier-like installation, uses layers upon layers of stacked, empty shrimp traps to achieve a ghostly fractal effect. 


Many of Stiller’s more recent works address spirits or mythology, using a visual language in keeping with the rest of his portfolio. Tree Spirits and Ginseng Spirits, for example, combine organic plant forms with the same slightly uncanny, identically moulded human faces for an eerie effect.

A sculpture consisting of doll heads affixed to a treeLittle Suckers

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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