Video on DVD
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
Double projection of 2 videos
Erik Steinbrecher (born 1963 in Basel, Switzerland) likes to explore ambiguity in his art. Each new project brings a shift in what seems otherwise all too familiar. The artist, who is also a trained architect, likes to experiment with different media along the entire spectrum of contemporary art, with a focus on installations, found objects, and print media. Recurring themes are thus not easy to identify, although he shows a certain marked fascination with corporeal and organic aspects. These take the form of a recurring interest in clothing and food, for example, and are rooted in observations of everyday life that he stores in a large pictorial archive he has been collecting for years.
Alongside Erik Steinbrecher’s explicitly figurative works, whose power of reference makes them the exact opposite of concretion as defined by Theo van Doesburg, Max Bill, or Hans Arp, his oeuvre also consists of a number of works that have a more minimalist appearance. These include the sculptures “Dong” (2003), “Luder” (2004), “Afghan” (2004), “Anaconda” (2004), and “Abfaller” (2005), all of which the artist presented in his exhibition “Minimal Kitsch” in the Museum Haus Konstruktiv in the winter of 2005–2006. This period was, incidentally, also characterized by a thematic expansion of the Museum’s program. With their economical design and smooth, varnished monochrome surfaces, they refer to the formal language of industrial serial production and modernist functionality. At first glance, they also appear to share a typology that reminds us of earlier genealogies of some of Steinbrecher’s motifs, such as his assemblages of fences, railings, and other similar instruments used to separate spaces. On closer inspection, however, we not only become aware of their mutually incompatible, individual make and their paradoxical choice of materials; they also throw us off guard through their humorous details. Because these are also reflected in the titles and are enriched with new associations, they create contradictory fields of reference. He further counteracts the rational and constructivist aspect by stretching and loosening the objects in a mannerist way, sometimes even using supports that give the artworks a sense of humor and tragedy at the same time. In sum, this group of works counteracts the strict “isms” in recent sculpture history with subtle humor, while also subverting any effort to pigeonhole the works according to such terms as object, relief, architecture, or spatial drawing.