Michael Sailstorfer | Wiesen at Night

Solo-exhibition by Michael Sailstorfer
Michael Sailstorfer, „Wiesen bei Nacht“ at Kunstverein Wiesen e.V. presents the institution´s first solo exhibition. Up to 30 works, spanning over 15 years include one of the first as well as the most recent work of the Berlin based sculptor and reflect upon his conceptual approach, placing the works in the middle of the rural, outside common art centres.

It is exactly such an idyllic scenery that has served the, by now internationally renowned artist, often as a backdrop: raised in the village Velden in Lower-Bavaria, Sailstorfer produced a lot of his works in the rural area. While a lack of financial means as well as opportunities to exhibit elsewhere used to be driving factors when he was younger, it is now an on-going bond to nature and solitude that keeps presenting such contexts for his works.

In this sense, the re-occuring center piece of the exhibition „Wiesen bei Nacht“ came into being: Sailstorfers latest work „Tränen“ 2015, which is shown here for the first time. To produce the work in spring 2015, Sailstorfer made a one-family house in the settlement Wiesen collapse under the weight of three tears made out of solid steel. A seemingly brutal act is being romanticised by its quiet, idyllic surrounding. The process results in a sculptural, photographic and filmic work, which extend from the outside up to the third floor of the exhibition venue.

Opposite the 8-minute long video projection of „Tränen“ 2015, two of Sailstorfers early works confront brutalism with romanticism and a sense of humour in a similar manner: In 2000, the artist cleaned a 5-meter cube in the middle of a forest (Waldputz, 2000) and shot a common street-light off a car top carrier, creating his own shooting star, (Sternschnuppe, 2002) qui.

Just as displaced as the circumstances in the works of Michael Sailstorfer seem, appears the architecture, of the almost 1000 year old castle that houses Kunstverein Wiesen. The building is in a restorative-state and interior stiles, ranging from Baroque to early and late Renaissance, clash with contemporary tools and materials.

The ever-changing architecture does not only deliver an interesting backdrop, but moreover serves as prop for the works on display. Hence, the video „3-ster mit Ausblick” 2002 where a barn burns down inside its own oven, is placed on bags filled with cork in the corner of the room. The floor on the second level, which is provisionally covered by chipboards serves as the ideal base for „Reaktor, 2005“. The microphone that is integrated in the concrete block captures the oscillation of the loose floor and transmits a deafening sound throughout the building.

Again, the architecture underlines Sailstorfers idea of a sculpture: many of his works not only visually extrapolate the space, but further activate it beyond the work itself by triggering further senses such as hearing or smelling. The partly missing floors of Kunstverein Wiesen potentiate works such as „Andy Warhol trägt Parfum“, 2007. The corrosive scent of lemon flushes from the entrance through the entire exhibition. Likewise, the pungent smell of rubber becomes noticeable on the lower levels. This smell leads to an oppressive room, covered in large black „clouds“, assembled out of bulging truck tires.

„Wiesen bei Nacht“ forms symbioses of art and architecture, placing works that have been produced in the rural area in the exact surrounding, connecting the institution´s interior to its environment. Hence, „Pulheim gräbt“, 2009 which is projected onto an raw wall, or the photographic series „Tränen“ 2015 in front of green hills and meadows are nicely integrated in the setting of Wiesen. Amplifying such circumstances as well as the rough architecture of the exhibition space, Sailstorfes works play with the conception and habitus of the visitor. A blow-dryer in front of a microphone distributes nothing but hot air, (Anna, 2004) lightning protectors turn into clothes racks (Antennen 2010) – the everyday object is alienated and the term sculpture exhausted.

Kunstverein Wiesen thanks Michael Sailstorfer, the curators Friedrich Gräfling & Johanna Stemmler, mayor Willi Fleckenstein for his support,Sparkasse Aschaffenburg/Alzenau, Johann König, private and public lenders, all the members as well as Cultural Avenue GmbH for the organisation.


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