"Pretty Hot Stuff"
The Public and Richard
Artschwager's "Back and Forth/Up and Down"
Richard Artschwager "unhinges" his paintings and objects: in the artist's
oeuvre, drawing, sculpture, and painting are independent disciplines;
they are connected, however, through form and content. The fact that his
work resists categorization has contributed to his reputation for being
"secretive" and "mysterious." Yet how does the public react to
Artschwager's art? Oliver Koerner von Gustorf talked with some of
the visitors to the exhibition in the
Deutsche Guggenheim and has assembled a selection of texts and quotes on
the most frequently recurring questions on Artschwager's work.
"Your walls are my walls, and, if you wish, my walls are your walls."
Richard Artschwager, 1970
Allison and Marc, London
Allison: I'm an art student in London and I'm basically very
interested in art. That's why we're looking at everything we can here in
Berlin - it's the reason we came. Although we didn't know ahead of time
Richard Artschwager was being shown, and I have to admit that I'd never
heard of him before. I was a bit amazed at how small the exhibition
space is. Just a moment ago, we weren't sure if we really saw
everything. But it's really great how the space is used, and the
exhibition itself is really pretty impressive. I especially like the
Marc: I find the Mirror here to be one of the
best works of all. And I really like Green Closure , too. It's
fantastic the way Artschwager picks up on the reflection of the green
tablecloth on the floor. Very clever. There's a lot of wit in this
picture. It's a funny situation, with all these suits and then this
naked person at the end of the table (laughs). And take a look at that
(points to Hairpiece) - that proves that the artist has an
excellent sense of humor.
Richard Artschwager, Green Closure,
I like this cube, or the Chairs. They look so fresh and contemporary. I really
don't understand why I never heard of Artschwager before, why I never
came across him. In art school, my teachers tell me that I should
specialize in a certain area of fine arts, but I don't seem to be able
to do that, and that's why I find this exhibition particularly beautiful.
Marc: I read the text in the brochure, where it said that Artschwager was
concerned with how we recognize a table, when a table becomes a
sculpture, and what a table actually is, in the end. And then I enter
the exhibition and see this table standing in the passageway - and I
have to ask myself if I'm still in the exhibition or not. That was
already a bit strange for me.
Eva Maria and Andreas, Berlin
Eva Maria: The exhibition's aesthetic seems a bit
comic-like to me, like from the forties - not in the brilliant colors of
Disney or Jeff Koons, but more brown and drab. It almost has a touch of
kitsch. This suburban feeling in the Formica surfaces leaves me with an
unpleasant aftertaste, and even if I respect Artschwager's art, he'll
never become one of my favorite artists.
Andreas: As with
many artists who are considered to be cryptic, you really just have to
take Artschwager's works literally.
Why do the boundaries
between sculpture, furniture, and pictorial representation blur in Richard
Artschwager's plastic works? Click onto the following images and find out
Married couple from Southern Germany
Actually, we picked out the exhibitions here in Berlin somewhat randomly.
We chose a few museums, and this exhibition just happened to be up at the
time. Although we'd like to add that we're interested in the concept of
Deutsche Guggenheim. Guggenheim is a name known worldwide. We've already
been to the Guggenheim in New York, and now of course Barcelona is on our
list - we haven't been there yet. But there's an affinity, and it prompts
us to come by and have a look. So that's why we're here first of all, but
another reason we came is that it's open on Mondays and there's free
admission, and that's a good thing, too. We'd already heard of
Artschwager, in the way you hear about many artists, but we didn't know
very much about him. Isn't he in the