Guido Geelen

Paul Andriesse

Guido Geelen’s sculptures not only have a lyrical, poetic side, but also a formal, minimal one. In contrast to his earlier works—made from stacking various geometric or baroque elements—these freestanding works are made up of everyday objects such as telephones or urinals, or even kitschy dogs and cats. He uses clay, producing these objects in series and repeating more or less the same elements. This technique of addition/subtraction, creating/destroying no longer results in chaos, but in a conglomeration of interlocking figures. In earlier works the perfection of the surface was primary, now he also focuses on internal space. By piercing the skin of the clay, the interior of the sculpture is opened to the viewer who is then able to discover not just one object, but many, which can only be seen from different angles.

All the objects lose their dimensionality and volume through the broken surface, and thus they also lose their clarity and particular physiognomy. Yet the interior is revealed, allowing Geelen’s sculptures to become articulations of the boundary between vessels and nonfigurative objects. Still, the parts maintain their integrity; only through association does this seemingly absurd conglomeration produce a fictive context. For instance, a stove becomes the space-shuttle in which a computer keyboard is hijacked.

Through these appealing arrangements Geelen shows the superficiality and illusory nature of our industrial culture, which fetishizes the functional object. They play along the line between familiarity and unfamiliarity. What first appears to be a kitsch or an everyday object gains new meaning through its combination with other objects. The spaces of his sculptures contains a treasure trove of playful possibilities.

Frank-Alexander Hettig

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.