In his new works the artist instills life into profane objects: he makes trees fly, houses breathe and blow-dryers sing, transforms a billboard into an epitaph and a painted-over school bus into an archive for children's memories and fantasies. In doing so, the artist uses found objects as a starting point, removing them from their usual context, then radically intervening their physicality. Through classic sculptural processes the meaning of things is displaced. The everyday becomes sculpture.

Untitled (Junger Römer) (2008) is the perfect imitation of an 8 meter long neon billboard from GDR radio manufacturer “Stern Radio”. The advertisement for the state combine, closed in 1990, can still be found today on a building on the corner of 'Greifswalder Straße' and 'Am Friedrichshain' in Berlin. There, as a relic of past times, it divulges its decay under graffiti and pigeon filth. Sailstorfer revives the out of service object, allowing its copy to blink rhythmically under colourful neon tubes. The pulsing interplay of lights evokes radio waves whose hypnotizing effect goes well over the limits of the sculpture. The object, freed from all advertising messages, works at the same time as a stylized portrait. Two spiral-shaped eyes that turn in psychedelic colour circles, Sailstorfer's light sculpture appears like the materialized specter of an abandoned era. The reanimation of a profane object by means of its physical transformation also takes place in the work Untitled (Lohma) (2008). In a stone pit in the Thuringian municipality of Lohma, Sailstorfer detonates a metal-sheet house with dynamite into the air. The explosion was shot with a special-purpose camera. In the postproduction the images were accelerated, mirrored and looped, so that the sequence of images is inverted shortly before the house bursts asunder. In this way, the video gives the impression that the construction is expanding and contracting as if it were a breathing torso. 

Sailstorfer focuses the camera exactly at the moment of detonation, in which the wrath of the blast deforms the material as if it were just a balloon what was bursting. The use of a camera in the documentation of sculptural experiments serves its purpose: Sailstorfer concentrates on the properties of the material and its malleability.

This procedure finds its continuation in “Raketenbaum”. A free-standing fruit tree was prepared in a way that it would be catapulted into the air by compressed-air cylinders attached to its root balls. Using a big format camera, two photographs of the performance were taken; one depicting the tree standing, one showing the tree during flight. As with the billboard, the artist strips the object from its usual surroundings, creating new contexts of meaning. In this way, the bulleted tree inspired on the landscape of his homeland, is additionally charged with images and fantasy. A reminiscence of his Bavarian homeland is also to be found in “Kässbohrer-Museum” (2008). The starting point for this work is a discarded school bus from the brand “Kässbohrer”, which Sailstorfer found near his place of birth. After its last drive, the bus was painted all over by the school children with figures, landscapes and scenes of the everyday. Using an angle grinder, Sailstorfer cut out all the motifs on the bus' lamination, inserted them into aluminium frames and stored them in a 27-part archive. Sailstorfer's “Kässbohrer Museum” contains the memories of the children who were chauffeured across the Bavarian countryside for years. In an ironic way, the sculptor plays in this work with the idea of conserving and archiving thoughts, places and occurrences present in images.



Michael Sailstorfer (b. 1979 in Velden, Germany) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He holds an MA in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London, UK (2003-2004).

His work has been displayed in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the world, including at Pejman Foundation, Tehran, Iran (2023); Kurhaus Museum Kleve, Germany (2022); Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, Germany (2022); Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany (2021); Koenigmuseum, Landshut, Germany (2021); BNKR, Munich, Germany (2019); Riga Biennale, Riga, Latvia (2018); Studio Michael Sailstorfer, Berlin, Germany (2017); Rochester Art Center, Rochester, USA (2014); ...
Read more