TUCCI RUSSO Studio per l’Arte Contemporanea presents the sixth exhibition by the German artist Thomas Schütte whose first solo show was held in 1986.
Reflection on the human condition always lies at the heart of Thomas Schütte’s work, independently of the subject or of the materials employed. In his art he frequently draws on the theme of the family, of human expressions and architectonic models. He works in different mediums, such as steel, glass, bronze and ceramics, to explore concepts linked to cultural memory, to existential difficulty and to human effort that is often expended in striving towards a utopian and impossible ideal. Schütte’s sculpted figures reflect the image and moods of man, and therefore of the artist himself, against the backdrop of life’s precariousness.
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The exhibition consists of drawings and works of recent creation, including the ceramic sculpture Braunkopf (2018), a face with an enigmatic upward glance, and a new version of the sculptures titled Fratelli [Brothers]. The first version dates to 2012: among other things, the sculpture was presented in the bronze version also at the exhibition Figur, held at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, Switzerland. The Fratelli on show comprises 4 busts in blue-lacquered aluminium: the material is not defined in itself and thus loses its recognisability. Reminiscent of ancient classical Roman statues, they are intended to represent an imaginary family. In fact it is often the artist’s practice to recover subjects and motifs from the past, giving them the possibility of a new form and a new meaning.
There are also two works on show titled Mann in Matsch mit Hut and Mann in Matsch mit Fahne which draw inspiration from the sculpture Mann in Matsch [Man in Mud], a subject the artist developed in the early eighties. This image grew out of a small plastic toy that Schütte decided to put away in a box because it kept falling down. In the original Mann in Matsch sculpture, as in these ones, the figure, unable to possess its own autonomous equilibrium, is fused with the base itself, up to the knee. Schütte sees this figure, locked in its material and incapable of moving, as an allegory of modern man’s obsession with constant historical progress. An existential and cultural impasse.
Other works on show are eight watercolours and the ceramic triptych Fake Flag, which refers to a utopian reality since it aims to represent the flag of an imaginary state.Courtesy the artist and TUCCI RUSSO Studio per l’Arte Contemporanea. Photo Archivio fotografico TUCCI RUSSO