Apr 8th – May 7th, 2011
Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf
Sies + Höke is pleased to present new work by Berlin-based artist Florian Slotawa (*1972).
In his sculptures, installations and photographs, Slotawa frequently uses everyday objects which he orders, rearranges and places in context with one another. In the late 1990s he became known for his photographic series “hotel works” (Hotelarbeiten) for which he restructured, overnight, the inventory of various hotel rooms, documenting the resulting temporary sculptures photographically. His so called “property works” (Besitzarbeiten), which he has been developing since that same time, are also a series of temporarily limited installations, whose components stem from his own household, to which they return again after the exhibition. These works are not only characterised by their strong composition and formal power, they also question the boundaries between public and private, and the significance of personal property.
For his fifth solo exhibition at Sies + Höke, Slotawa continues to work with usable objects, “ready-mades” in the classical sense, which he – and this is new – confronts with one another in series. Sequences and typologies are a well-established artistic principle in photography, at least since Bern and Hilla Becher. Slotawa transfers it into the realm of sculpture: in the gallery’s main room he presents seven motorcycles from the 1970s and ‘80s, which he brought to the same condition standard and eventually had varnished: in exactly the same colour his first car had, a VW Golf II. The bikes, which differ considerably in size and design, consolidate due to this new colour scheme; brand-specific features grow less evident in favour of a sculptural unity. The particular shade of colour in turn generates a reference to Slotawa’s own biography, marking a consistent trace in his oeuvre.
While the motorcycles establish a sculptural weight within the space, an accompanying black and white photographic series illustrates the differences in their particular design and construction, highlighting the concept of sequence and comparability. The photographs are austere and analytical, contrary to the genre’s typical interpretation. Meanwhile, the artist’s intervention in the colour scheme is withheld – the title alone points towards it: “green bikes”.
Sequences of ready-mades are also found in other works in this exhibition. “ALDI, LIDL, NETTO, PENNY” for example shows five arrays of kitchen equipment: oil and vinegar bottles, coffee and tea, salt and pepper. Each of the five sets was sourced from one of major German discount supermarkets and reflects in its respective fluid levels Slotawa’s “original set”, to be found in his kitchen. “Seven soaps” is a row of soap dishes, on which Slotawa has arranged colored soap bars. The result is a typology of functional design, coupled with a specific artistic intervention, a color composition reminiscent of classic still life arrangements.
Florian Slotawa was born in 1972 in Rosenheim and lives in Berlin. His solo shows include PS1, MoMA, New York (2009), “Solothurn aussen”, Kunstverein Solothurn (2008), “One After the Other”, Arthouse, Austin (2007), “Land gewinnen”, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (2005), “Bonn ordnen”, Bonner Kunstverein (2004) and “Gesamtbesitz”, Kunsthalle Mannheim (2002). From 15 May 2011 “KölnSkulptur 6” at the Skulpturenpark Köln will present an intervention by Slotawa. For 2012, a solo exhibition at the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Remagen, is planned.