LOST & FOUNDor how to turn a fireplace into a sculptureMarch 13 to April 10, 2021
Under the title LOST & FOUND, a series of works are gathered at our Fasanenplatz gallery that deal with topics such as reuse, sustainability or appropriation. In recent years, aspects like these have become even more prominent in people's consciousness. However, it is apparent that art has been dealing with these social challenges for much longer than the (political) public has. Athena Vida, Saâdane Afif, John Armleder and Mathieu Mercier, for example, use found objects of various origins for their works and show that materials can be subject to constant change. Sylvie Fleury with bulging shopping bags from an extensive shopping trip and Hans-Peter Feldmann with a collection of magazine and newspaper photos gathered over years reveal how strongly personal influences affect art and what different forms of representation emerge. Finally, Isabell Heimerdinger produces the fragmentary found objects on purpose and thus questions the omnipresent perfection.
For Hans-Peter Feldmann, images are pure projection surfaces and consequently cannot belong to anyone. They are democratic cultural assets. In addition to his own photographs, he works with found material of an amateur, professional, private or public nature that he acquires at markets, in second-hand bookshops or even from anonymous people. He only knows what he has been looking for when he has found the corresponding picture motif. He does not sort and register the collages in strict typologies, but directs the chaos into paths and designs ever new arrangements and constellations. Thus, the focus in Hans-Peter Feldmann's oeuvre is never on the single image with a narrative dimension, but on the sequence. For it is only the intuitive sequence and repetition that leads to deeper insight. Thus the composition of the pictures resembles the assembly of a mosaic, which requires intuition and concentration. The only seemingly spontaneous flood of images is channelled and transferred from the small to the large–from the individual photograph to the whole. Whereas in the early collages of the 1960s portraits of women still dominated, Feldmann expands the influences here to include a multitude of people, buildings and objects. Through the overall impression, superordinate connections, ironic short-cuts and unsuspected cross-connections become visible in the collages–a visual search for a grammar within our collective image culture.
John Armleder's series of Furniture Sculptures, which began in the 1970s, can be seen as his most important group of works. Inspired by the Fluxus movement, these works are not only a commentary on the conventional treatment of paintings - hanging on the wall, serving as a backdrop for pieces of furniture - but they also recall the aesthetic heritage of European avant-garde art. For this work, Armleder uses an ordinary electric fireplace that he found in an English student dormitory and places it on the ceiling. The unconventional positioning of the beautifully shaped piece of furniture enhances its value and removes it from its original context.
Sylvie Fleury's work Acne (Acne is the name of a fashion label) shows the successful result of an extensive shopping tour. The positioning of the shopping bags, packed with consumer goods from noble designers and luxury perfumers, resembles an altar and is emblematic of Sylvie Fleury's practice, which among other things deals with the superficiality in our culture today and its significance in Western society. The accumulation of luxury goods can be seen as a memorial to consumerism and yet shows the special appealing aesthetics with which the luxury industry knows how to advertise. Fleury plays with gender-specific clichés in this sculptural still life and also addresses themes such as beauty and transience, which she transforms in her typical manner.
The materials for Athena Vida's accumulation sculptures often come from flea markets, antique shops and second-hand stores. Reusing found objects to create a new sculpture while retaining their original form and function is one of Vida's main interests. Interactions with folk art, mythology, art history and pagan tradition through her titles and the form she achieves are consistent themes in her work. In this assemblage, where fragments of a broken ostrich egg are applied to a found corrugated metal sheet, the artist creates a flowing mosaic of a unicorn, almost reminiscent of archaic cave painting. The malleability of the sheet metal gives the impression of movement, while the title "Unicorn" recalls both the magical properties and the prevalence of the mythical creature in the visual arts, from the Babylonian Ishtar Gate (a mosaic now in Berlin's Pergamon Museum) to its use as an icon for the Virgin Mary.
This sculpture is a study based on the legacy of constructivism and formalism, reminiscent of El Lissitzki's structures. The work is made of materials found in the studio, such as aluminium, wood and plastic left over from the construction of other works. The artist works precisely at the intersection of the readymade with the do-it-yourself method to bring to light the influence of the 20th century avant-garde on contemporary consumerism. The form is determined by three axes–they see themselves in relation to the surrounding space and redefine it.
In her series of ceramic sculptures, Isabell Heimerdinger shows fragments of plates that have been reassembled. The different parts with different glazes together make a new whole. The compositions seem random, but the artist has deliberately created the "broken" elements. This type of ceramics has a long tradition in the Asian region and is based on the tradition of kintsugi (Japanese for gold patching). Here, ceramics are deliberately destroyed and reassembled to literally "break" the perfection of the work. Isabell Heimerdinger, however, refrains from fixing the individual parts and thus preserves the fragmentary nature of the broken pieces.
In his sculpture, Saâdane Afif combines two completely different media: wood and pharmaceuticals. In terms of colour, shape and their symbolism, the capsules act as a contrast to the orthogonal structure of the wooden rods and break up the clear, modern form. The object is formalistically reminiscent of concrete art of the 1950s and borrows particularly from works by Josef Albers and Max Bill. The plinth is an elementary component of the work here and had originally held the artwork of another artist. Afif thus creates a symbiosis of old and new that picks up on the existing and allows it to live on through re-use.