Jürgen Drescher

Galerie Isabella Kacprzak

Jürgen Drescher does not make art, he finds it. He finds it everywhere—even literally stumbles over it. Removing a worn carpet from his old apartment or from the home of a friend, he displays it as is on laths. The stains that have emerged over the years, the filth, and the holes burned by cigarette butts form a pattern that is quite comparable to a painting. In this way, a worthless, everyday object becomes a work of art—or does it?

Drescher’s new works operate at this borderline between an artwork and an everyday object. This time the everyday object that inspired the artist is a security gate from a store window. Drescher displays two gates in the gallery. A rusty old found window gate that the artist welded into a circle is juxtaposed with a second gatelike structure he fabricated himself. The object designed by the artist and the everyday object—two items of different origins with a formal structure in common—confront one another. Who should or can decide what art is?

This same brinkmanship between art object and found object marks the piece entitled Trittbrett (Running board, 1990). Drescher places several running boards from old train cars one behind the other, to form a long plate, which is edged in steel. This sculpture is installed along a wall, a short distance above the floor. Can one step on it, or is it an untouchable art object? In another piece, a freezer with its interior coated with white plaster contains a clay mountain, across from a clay figure. The freezer, covered with a sheet of glass, is not working, but nevertheless it emanates an icy atmosphere. Abtauen (Defrost, 1990) is the slightly ironic title of this work, which resensitizes us to the original feature of this everyday object: namely, its cooling capacity.

One piece in this show neither made of found materials nor taken from the world of everyday objects is a polished, imitation marble tank hung on the wall with an opening at eye level. Ich sehe schwarz für Sie (I see black for you, 1989), is a title of a work, that could really serve as the motto for the entire exhibition. Because Drescher sees for us, he sees the forms and qualities of our immediate and therefore scarcely perceptible environment. And, as this exhibition so persuasively reveals, the results are astonishing. His work sharpens our eyes for the everyday objects surrounding us.

Noemi Smolik

Translated from the German by Joachim Neugroschel.