Roland Gebhardt: Biography

Born in Paramaribo, Suriname 1939
Educated in Suriname, Holland,
Switzerland and Germany
Master of Fine Arts
Art Academy of Hamburg 1964

The Artist

Roland Gebhardt is an internationally known sculptor whose work has been shown around the world and is in many prominent collections. He studied at the Art Academy of Hamburg where he earned a Master of Fine Arts. He also studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich. He is perhaps best known for his monolithic sculptures which explore the concept of the linear void. Some of these explorations were executed as large scale environmental sculptures (such as those shown at Wave Hill and Storm King in New York). Other explorations utilized “host volumes” as diverse as natural boulders, and fruit and vegetables. The latter were the subject of a series of highly acclaimed 8 one-day exhibits at the Kunstmuseum, Duesseldorf in 1982.

In 2005, Roland began the development of series of masks in an exploration of individual and group identity. Collaborating with artists from a variety of disciplines, this exploration culminated in the production of a multi-media performance piece which made its world premiere at the 3LD Art & Technology Center in New York City in December, 2008. “The Only Tribe” received widespread press coverage, and elicited positive responses from audiences during its seven-week residence at 3LD. It is anticipated that future productions of the piece will be staged at other venues in the US and Europe.

"Sculpture Dance" continues his exploration of group and individual identity using sculptural masks presented by dancers in open-air settings. In 2013, these experiments at Storm King Art Center and on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution began to unravel spatial relationships embedded in the intersection of identity, abstract sculpture, and landscape.

"Trophies" is a unique collaboration between sculpture, dance and music that explores issues of identity and transformation from living being to hunter's trophy. The piece premiered in February 2014 at the Erie Art Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania.

"Layers", a multimedia, multidisciplinary depiction of how new information is perceived through the filters and layers of experience, will be workshopped at a venue (to be determined) in 2014.

Roland continues to develop conceptual sculpture in digital and other formats.

The Designer

Respected for his versatility and originality as a designer and knowledge of the retail industry, especially market positioning and visual communications. His particular strengths are in the areas of space planning, retail environments, exhibits, signage, product development and packaging. Roland has designed and directed projects as a consultant for New York's top design firms and was the Designer Director for Robert P. Gersin Associates. Since 1987, he has headed his own independent design firm in New York City. Roland Gebhardt Design has participated in projects in the United States, Europe and Japan. Drawing on his talents as an artist, he has also developed a line of sculptural furniture. He holds several mechanical and design product patents.

The Civic Participant

Roland has been participant in many community related activities, including the Hudson River Waterfront, Community Board 1, and was a member of the steering committees for the Civic Alliance and Rebuild Downtown Our Town (R.Dot)*.

He was a contributor to the R.Dot White Paper and Position Papers on Managed Streets, Arts and Culture, and Neighborhood and Housing.

Roland Gebhardt was a founder and board member of the Tribeca Organization. He is a Fellow of The Institute for Urban Design. He was a panelist on NY1’s Roundtable of civic leaders involved in rebuilding Lower Manhattan. Roland was invited to deliver a paper on community revitalization in Halle, Germany and was a panelist for the Cultur/Bloc workshop concerning citizen participation in the urban design process.

He was also a member of the delegation of participants in the rebuilding effort for Lower Manhattan that visited Berlin, Munich, Copenhagen, Bologna and Barcelona.

Roland was a director of the Architectural Research Institute, and is currently an advisor to the Home Base Project. He is a member of the advisory board of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) and is an advisory committee member of Dance NYC.

Transposing his experience as a designer, Roland’s contribution to the Lower Manhattan planning process has proved unique and innovative. This is particularly the case with regard to making planning for the future of Lower Manhattan people-centric rather than based on site and/or existing conditions and expectations. Arguments for this approach are now widely recognized in the planning and architectural community.

© 2013 Roland Gebhardt