Dutch Sculptor’s Gravity-Defying Works

Dutch-born artist and sculptor, Ramon Schalkx, was rejected from the prestigious HKU – University of the Arts in Utrecht back in 2002. Reflecting on this moment of exclusion, Schalkx claims it was the catalyst for making the impossible, possible.

Now, the 42-year-old artist is believed to be the only sculptor in the world to combine stone and bronze in gravity-defying masterpieces. A collection of his work will be showcased at The Pavilions Amsterdam, The Toren’s inaugural art exhibition, opening on Saturday 15th April 2023, to coincide with World Art Day. Schalkx will give a private talk for hotel guests and special invitees on Sunday 16th April  between 2:30pm and 5pm. 

Seven limited-edition pieces will be unveiled at the opening event and will remain on display in the hotel until Autumn 2023. The event will be a unique opportunity for invited guests to view the stunning artworks up close, hear Schalkx share his story and insights into his craft, and discover more about the hotel’s eclectic past and artistic heritage. Set within two 17th Century canal houses – once the scene for the flamboyant lives of Dutch merchants – on the site of Amsterdam’s first University, The Toren’s romantic atmosphere and decadent décor provide the perfect setting for this exclusive exhibition. The hotel’s lounge bar features a 60 sqm ceiling mural inspired by Rembrandt, painted by art students from Leiden University – the same institution in which the Netherlands’ very own ‘Old Master’ was enrolled in the early 1600s. 


The septet of sculptures on display are Climbing MaleHere I amFor the Love of DanceBronze Female TorsoLiz TaylorPregnant Marble Torso; and Spear Fisher. Commenting from his workshop, 20 minutes from the capital, Schalkx said “The majority of my work is characterised as a surprising representation of life. My pieces are inspired by the human body and nature, telling the story of where the body’s limitations of strength and craft end, and where construction, engineering and manifestation of the mind begin.”

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Speaking of his personal favourite, For the Love of Dance Schalkx summarised “It is the pure beauty of the two separate sculptures meeting in a very dynamic, loving and intimate moment.”  

“Dancers and the art of dance inspire me enormously. Not only for the almost impossible movements, the expression and translation of emotion in a beautiful powerful body, but also for the dancer’s enormous dedication, hard work and passion for dance. As a sculptor, I continue where it physically stops for the dancers. A dream and the next level of the dancers, that continues in another form of art. Making the impossible, possible.”

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Of the collaboration with the hotel, Annemieke Dassen-Klassen, said “We’re delighted to have Ramon’s artwork on display in the hotel. His creations are a perfect fit here. Ramon’s sculptures will be with us throughout the summer months for all our discerning guests to enjoy”. Schalkx continued, “I’m looking forward to the event. I very much enjoy sharing how my work is created, from the initial idea to the defiance of gravity/science in how the two individual elements intertwine yet do not touch or rely on each other to actually stand as one.  It is a great honour to display my artwork at The Toren hotel.”       

In 2020, self-taught Schalkx – previous winner of the ‘Zilveren Kei’ Audience Award for young artistic talent – decided to dedicate his life to his passion full-time. Giving up the ‘day job’, Schalkx now works well into the night crafting unique pieces and defying the limitations of certain materials working ‘as one’.

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His sculptures vary from harmonic abstract to layered figurative. All are hand-crafted with precision to the millimetre. The time it takes to complete a sculpture depends on the materials, complexity and technique; sculpting typically involves several stages such as sketching, modelling, carving, casting and finishing, with some of Schalkx’s pieces taking years to accomplish.                                                                                                                                                    

The Pavilions The Toren Lounge Bar (3)

The inaugural exhibition at The Toren, Amsterdam continues The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts’ commitment to working with artists and local artisans. Sister hotel The Pavilions Madrid recently embarked on a collaboration with esteemed gallery and art academy, El Taller del Prado, transforming rooms and communal areas into an immersive showcase for more than 60 pieces, including lithographs and engravings by some of Spain’s most renowned contemporary artists. In Rome, The Pavilions Rome, The First Arte has refined getting a restful night’s sleep into an art form, as guests step into a gallery the moment they enter the lobby. A former 19th-century nobleman’s palazzo, the hotel contributes to growing hospitality trend for art hotels, with both permanent and temporary exhibits. Each suite becomes a small private gallery for guests to enjoy during their stay. 

Genevieve Raeburn, Group Marketing, The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts says “The intangible part of a guest stay is really important in enhancing their time at the property. It introduces guests to local culture, customs and talent. Whether travelling for business or leisure, we know what our guests appreciate. Upon entering the hotel, the ambiance, decoration and cultural identity are as important as the customer service. Across our portfolio, we ensure that our guests feel a connection to the destination and culture, so working with local artists is an excellent way for us to do this.” 

Watch Ramon Schalkx at work 

For more information and reservations, please visit www.pavilionshotels.com/amsterdam/thetoren.

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