Critics’ Picks

Mannheimer Bestandsaufnahme (Camping Equipment), 2002/2004.

Basel

Florian Slotawa

Galerie Friedrich
Grenzacherstrasse 4
January 27–March 18, 2005

Since 1996, Florian Slotawa—best known for his one-night transformations of hotel rooms into cavelike temporary hideaways—has worked almost exclusively with his own personal belongings in lieu of more conventional materials. In the ongoing series of “Besitzarbeiten” (Property Works), he accumulated, sorted, moved, and arranged all of his earthly possessions according to their formal qualities or to autobiographically and art historically-inspired concepts—until, in 2001, a collector purchased every item in the artist’s household. Before getting rid of everything he owned, Slotawa painstakingly took an inventory consisting of black-and-white photographs of each grouping of things, from coffee cups to radios. Twelve of these images (out of ninety-two) are now on view at Galerie Friedrich. One suspects that Slotowa’s act of forced purgation necessarily made room for new concepts–and it makes sense that the nearest thing to hand were various rolls of packing-tape. Slotawa has stacked them into colorful columns of uniform height, whose arabesque silhouettes vary in width, as some of the rolls are practically all used up and others almost full. The third work on view connects Slotawa’s personal approach with the formal aesthetic of the “Tapes” sculptures: Neatly arranged on a shelf in the gallery, Otto and Erika Friedrichs’ summer wardrobe becomes the artist’s material—thus leaving his gallerists a little more space at home.