Cologne

Andrea Rostásy

Galerie Lukas & Hoffmann

At first glance, the sculptures of Berlin artist Andrea Rostásy are mere simulations of ordinary objects. Some of these pieces, which have been created out of wood, pressboard, or synthetic materials such as imitation leather, may seem similar in spirit to the found and constructed artifacts of the Swiss artist duo Fischli and Weiss. Yet, despite the careful craftsmanship and realistic coloration which at first glance causes them to appear to be either readymade objects or canny re-creations, the motivation behind her sculptures is fundamentally different. By subtly altering the proportions of the objects to which she refers, and by reducing each to a rudimentary form, Rostásy frustrates any narrative aspect that might otherwise be read into the work.

This process of reduction yields sculptures that, although they still reference quotidian objects, have been stripped of their function. These pieces resemble the pseudo-furniture made by other artists of Rostásy’s generation—Andrea Zittel, for example, or Jorge Pardo—but whereas Zittel and Pardo suggest theoretical uses for their sculptures, Rostásy maintains a distinct separation between her works and the context from which they have been lifted, choosing instead to stress their sculptural character. At the same time, the specific character of the objects to which they refer continues to resonate in each work. For example, one of the two pieces in this show, Sitzliege (Sit lie, 1993), despite its strange proportions, is recognizable as the sort of bench one typically finds in museums. While it may seem to invite the visitor to take a brief rest, Rostásy seems to present the “bench” as a work of art in itself, as it is thoroughly unsuited for relaxation.

The irony found in Sitzliege permeates the artist’s other works as well. The second piece in this show, Rollershutter, 1994, was installed on a windowless wall of the gallery, turning the exhibition space into a “room without a view,” as there was no window behind the shutter. Even if there had been one, a view would not have been possible, as the shutter could not be opened. Things, then, aren’t at all what they seem. Raising questions about perception and the essential nature of sculpture, Rostásy’s constructions both extend and expand upon sculptural traditions.

Yilmaz Dziewior

Translated from German by David Jacobson.