Reinhard Reitzenstein was born in Uelzen, Germany, in 1949, and was educated in Toronto after his family immigrated to Canada in 1956. He studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto from 1968 to 1971. From 1971 to 1991 he was represented by Toronto's Carmen Lamanna Gallery, followed in August 1995 with his second solo exhibition. He is currently represented by the Olga Korper Gallery.
Reitzenstein's work has consistently taken him into processes and practices exploring ways to unite and interconnect nature, culture, and technology. He works in several parallel areas: indoor installation and sculpture using cast, spun and welded metals, wood, glass, photography and other materials; large scale drawings, often of microscopic biological structures; large installations (often outdoors) using whole trees, cut, and/or mounted, and/or coated with beeswax; and sound art, largely in collaboration with composers Gayle Young and David Keane. He travels and exhibits his work extensively, often speaking about contemporary cultural issues in related lectures.
In the summer of 1992 he represented Canada with an outdoor installation Compromiso Viriditas at a Biennale in Caracas, Venezuela. In February of 1993 he installed a new large-scale installation entitled World Tree at the Confederation Centre for the Arts in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Also in 1993 he completed a public commission entitled, Western Pergola, for the University of Western Ontario at the McIntosh Art Gallery. Sound Lodge, an interactive sound sculpture built with David Keane, was exhibited at The Nickel Arts Museum in Calgary during the Tuning of the World conference held in Banff and Calgary in August 1993. Sound Lodge also traveled to the Netherlands in May 1993, and in 1994 it traveled to Denmark for the International Computer Music Conference. In February 1994, Reitzenstein was guest artist at the University of Maine and the Maine College of Art. In April1994 he traveled to Chile to install a new work at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago, Chile, called Memory Vessel, as part of a group exhibition entitled Via Renovator. In July 1994 he collaborated with composer Gayle Young in two separate projects: Tuyeaux Sonores, a sound art installation in Alma, Quebec, as part of an exchange between artists from Quebec and Ontario; and another project as part of Sound Symposium in Newfoundland entitled, 5--Ypsilon; the Bunker Version. In the fall of 1994 he completed a public commission for the Donald Forster Sculpture garden at the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, Ontario. In May 1995 he created a new sound sculpture with Gayle Young for an exhibition at The Glendon Gallery, York University. In November 1995 he presented a work entitled The World Tree simultaneously in Montreal at Concordia University and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sophia Imber in Caracas, Venezuela. In May 1996 he produced an outdoor project entitled The Eighth Bridge, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in conjunction with the Kenderdine Gallery at the University of Saskatchewan and the Mendel Art Gallery.
His work is included in many corporate and public collections including The National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Algoma Art Gallery, the University of Toronto, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Confederation Centre for the Arts, the Province of Ontario and The University of Western Ontario. Reitzenstein has taught sculpture and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Guelph since 1980 and at Brock University 1991-94. He has lived in Grimbsy, Ontario since 1981.