2013 - 2014
200 cm (Height)
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Purchase made possible by Club Fonds Konkret
Macula / Series T (1–11), 2013/14
Tobias Putrih (born 1972 in Kranj, Slovenia) claims not to have a normal studio; instead, he has a bag with his computer and sketchbook, and a workbench that he occasionally uses when building models. This apparent ease and mobility is paired with a persistent refusal to take on the burden of a kind of art production that is bound to a certain medium and entails creating a constantly growing collection of materials. It therefore comes as no surprise that Putrih’s works actually do radiate a sense of ease and mobility. They celebrate the experimental, the temporary, the fleeting, the makeshift, the fragilely balanced, the playful, the model, and the vision.
Putrih was a student of physics before he began studying art in Ljubljana. After graduating, he spent a year at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf in 1997. His fascination with (physical) experimentation has remained a constant feature of his work. His installations transform each space into a kind of visionary architecture, an ephemeral shell made of modular elements that visitors can sometimes modify and whose materials undermine the sublime aspiration to last forever. This is because the artist primarily builds his objects out of cardboard, paper, Styrofoam, and plywood, to which he adds video projections, light, and sound.
“After Frei Otto” is the name of a work from 2010 that best demonstrates Putrih’s process-oriented play with temporality. It consists of a wire frame structure wrapped in cotton that is dipped in a container of soap, lending it the sculptural feature of a shiny skin that lasts for only a very short time. The German architect Frei Otto (1925–2015) originally demonstrated his spectacular, tent-like roof constructions in the same way. References to the utopias and models of pioneering architects and artists from the 20th century
is characteristic for Putrih’s artistic strategy. In his exhibition “Solar Limb” in the Museum Haus Konstruktiv in 2014, he also presented a video installation of the same name that referred to the first Futuristic opera “Victory Over the Sun” from 1913 about trying to capture the sun in which Kazimir Malevich, who painted the famous “Black Square” and strove to make the invisible visible, was responsible for the lighting, costumes, and stage design.
Putrih’s comprehensive group of sculptures titled “Macula,” which were also shown in the exhibition, play with the idea of capturing light and the boundaries between visibility and invisibility. The cardboard columns, which are slightly taller than an average person, are assembled around an empty space in the center. They have different diameters, are translucent, and generate a moiré effect thanks to their delicate structure. When asked in 2014 what unites his many different works, Putrih has said that it is the striving to achieve a balance between an object’s existence and the moment of its collapse: “It is a very fine line, and my theory is that it is this precarious moment that makes the objects come to life.”