51.5 x 75 x 25 cm
Spray paint on aluminum
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the estate of Charlotte Posenenske
Diagonale Faltung [Diagonal folding]
Authorized reconstruction, 2010
Charlotte Posenenske (born 1930 in Wiesbaden, died 1985 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany) created her entire artistic oeuvre between 1950 and 1968. In her development, she underwent many different phases, beginning with her time as a student of Willi Baumeister’s in Stuttgart, to her work at the theater and as a freelance artist, up until she quit art altogether. Her most important artworks, created from 1965 on, established her as an innovative representative of minimalist tendencies in Europe and marked the shift when she stopped using a palette knife to make gestural pictures influenced by Tachisme and began exploring sculptural issues instead. This new beginning was distinguished by folded metal reliefs, like “Diagonale Faltung” (1966). Instead of a subjectively composed canvas, she introduced industrial materials into her art and replaced brushwork with spray paint. These characteristics also describe the aluminum reliefs in her A, B, and C series (1967), which were sprayed with a few distinct RAL standard colors. The Museum Haus Konstruktiv owns two red and two yellow works from the B series. In terms of their serial presentation and materials, these works are related to Donald Judd’s notion of “Specific Objects.” Remarkably, Posenenske also exhibited her works together with Judd, Carl Andre, and other minimal artists that same year. One step ahead of the rest, she had already left the decision of how and where the convex and concave metal sheets were to be shown in the hands of others, thus relinquishing her authority over the work’s final form – another important aspect of artistic originality – while maintaining a distance to Conceptual Art at the same time. This went hand-in-hand with a democratization of her art, which she soon emphasized even more with her prototypes for square tubes made of zinc sheet. These look eerily similar to air-conditioning pipes and suchlike architectural elements, and yet they have no clearly defined function or standardized production. Instead, they act as anonymous sculptures of which unlimited editions could be installed or mounted freely in interior and/or public spaces. Posenenske’s approach becomes even more apparent in her last series of works called “Drehflügel.” Regardless of whether these are a metric cube, like “Kleiner Drehflügel Serie E” (1967/68), or an accessible architectural sculpture, they not only play with, but also contradict Andre's idea of site-specificity, along with his dictum from 1965: “The function of sculpture is to seize and hold space.” Posenenske achieved this by using moveable elements that encourage the audience to participate. She thus understood participation as a way of working against the notion of the finished artwork in a spatial and temporal sense. She focused on themes such as social relevance and the critique of production and consumption, paired with the ideas of changeability, objectivity, and an inherent relation to the surrounding space. This led her to write a kind of manifesto at the end of her career, which appeared in the May issue of the magazine “Art International” in 1968, after which she dedicated herself completely to sociology.