Berlin

Raimund Luckwald

Raimund Luckwald’s highly original ensemble of wood, cloth, iron wire, jute, and resin objects looks like refuse. Paired with titles from everyday life such as Müde (Tired), Mehr Licht (More light), Haar (Hair), Schatten (Shadow), Ohr (Ear), Geduld (Patience), or Die Knie (The knees), they instantly suggest that everything here is relative and variable. Some of these esthetic objects, which resemble filigree and are imbued with spatial élan, are actually little more than representatives of utterly unpretentious everyday motifs. The table form, the pillow form, the lamp support with no available electric socket, the soft-sewn jute cabinet, and finally the dilapidated basket—they are all recontextualized within the ideal space of the gallery. When a given object or situation is reduced by this austere poetic, ambiguities and reversals occur. In the face of this plethora of objects and situations, we wonder how eloquent the material substance of these objects and their minimal esthetic are.

A synthesis of thought and presentation animates these works, yet Luckwald appears to focus less on the flat, formal, esthetic treatment of the thing per se and more on incorporating the pictorial, sensory, material, and representational associations emanating from the thing. Technically, he removes the kernel of identity from each object. Corsetlike supports emerge, and, partly by means of humorous montage procedures, the forms of the selected objects are then integrated into new contexts.

These works, above all, refuse sentimentality. The act of making an idea visible and concrete, and thereby bringing the everyday into the realm of art, is not necessarily new. Still, Luckwald gives space and materiality to everyday language by applying a synthetic principle. If we wanted to describe these objects as sculptures—they seem more like drawings in space—they skillfully constitute a kind of pseudo “art for art’s sake,” bucking the power of the material environment from which they are taken. Banality—or so the message seems to suggest—has gained a life of its own in art, a life that the artist can scarcely control. To be sure, the artist’s idea plays a synthesizing role here. In this context, Luckwald manages to tackle an art dominated by objects, words, themes, and motifs and to take it up as an art of everyday life. The experience in the gallery is thus a cheerful experience of an art, the harmless aphoristic meaning of which supplants sculpture as a material medium in a materialistic environment and presents any object, and thereby any word, as a product of our consciousness, a consciousness that plays an extremely vital role in the construction of this art about art.

Norbert Messler

Translated from the German by Joachim Neugroschel.