ANDREAS SCHMITTEN
VITRINEN

G2 KUNSTHALLE, LEIPZIG, GERMANY
27 JANUARY – 14 MAY 2023

With VITRINEN, the G2 Kunsthalle presents an overview of the work of sculptor Andreas Schmitten, whose work moves between sculpture, installation and drawing. Schmitten deals with processes of human historical, social and cultural formation through objects that repeatedly open up associations with conventional products of man. The exhibition focuses on the artist’s showcase works. The view into his work is supplemented by drawings and free-standing sculptures.The origin of the model-like influence of the cool-looking showcases lies in Schmitten’s childhood. As a child, he would recreate models of freely imagined spaces or settings from films. In Schmitten’s showcases, we look at objects that are spatially staged and always trigger associations with day-to-day objects that are familiar to us. In the process, these develop their own aesthetics and visual language that go beyond what we are used to, thus triggering an irritation that demands a reconsideration of the familiar. Through his showcases, the artist allows us to peer into timeless visual worlds that repeatedly open up references to the archaic origins of collectively used objects and, despite their seclusion, sketch an environment that forms an illusionistic spatiality beyond the boundaries of the showcase.The higher cabinet in the first room of the G2 Kunsthalle, where Schmitten shows the sculptures Geburt and Der Andere, takes on an oversized and accessible showcase character. The lacquered bronzes are strongly reminiscent of sanitary ceramic fixtures. The smooth, homogeneous and sterile surface does not allow for impurities or flaws. Schmitten combines functional object with organic structure.

The basin shape, a recurring motif in Schmitten’s work, opens up a complex associative space between content and emptiness, intake and discharge, purity and dirt, and inclusion and exclusion.At the same time, the sculptures’ positioning on a pedestal and elevation of the space give them an altar-like aesthetic, allowing for a recontextualization from profane washbasin to sacred consecration basin.

The architectural house sculptures can be understood both as a direct reference to the artist’s biography and as a redefinition of the scale relationships between model, viewer, and the space surrounding him. Through such an interplay, between inside and outside, the works make direct reference to the architecture of the G2 Kunsthalle.Andreas Schmitten offers a glimpse into his stagings, which trigger archaic and instinctive feelings and mechanisms through the abstraction of familiar environments and objects. Illusions and ambivalences of contexts open up, leading to spectrums of allegorical and philosophical reflections.

© G2 Kunsthalle / Andreas Schmitten, courtesey KÖNIG Galerie Berlin, Seoul; SCHÖNEWALD, Düsseldorf; Photo Dotgain.info
© Text Leo Wedepohl