A Physician and the Love of Steel

Hephaistos Magazine
Claus-Frenz Claussen
A Physician and the Love of Steel
Pia-Maria Huber
HEPHAISTOS 3/4, 1996, pp. 12-13
Tr: Mike Spencer,


Professor Claus-Frenz Claussen is famous for his ground-breaking research in neuro-otology. His second obsession after medicine is art. The professor at the University of Würzburg is a success as a self-taught sculptor in steel.


The Iron Man from the Iron Mountain -- behind this archaic alliteration stands physician and scientist Prof. Claus-Frenz Claussen, neuro-otologist and, since the seventies, a metal artist as well. In his academic role, he is a senior professor and teaches in gray flannels at the Alma Julia in Würzburg. As a metal artist, he works in welder's leathers and proletarian blue in his own studio in the Franconian town of Eisenbühl [lit. Iron Ridge or Iron Hill].

It all began over thirty years ago with a model four or five feet square with which Claussen hoped, by means of a sort of collage, to make the functional pathways of the brain comprehensible. From there, it was only a short step to more artistic creations. This first creation was just a little whatsit compared to the scale of his present work, but it led him into formal art studies, oriented around the graceful, fragile figures of Giacometti, separately conceived sculptures that can be playfully rearranged into new groups, and to "Clausen's Birds" -- these latter done, in contrast to his earlier work, with the cutting torch. These "firebirds" and "caricature birds" have led him into a new theme: mythology. Starting from his own mythological past -- he comes from a Nordic Viking line -- he succeeds in uniting the ephemeral present with the ageless stories of humanity. At first the the physician-artist "operated" on a variety of material but eventually turned exclusively to metal.

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