berlin

Richard Artschwager

Sprüth Magers

Since the 1960s, Richard Artschwager has been reconstructing objects associated with utility and domestic life—furniture, pictures, and other household items—but with deformations verging on the grotesque. Even purely semantic abstractions like punctuation marks are inserted into the elastic space of his art. At the same time, he tells us, this process is meant to “celebrate” the everyday object in its nonfunctionality. Artschwager worked as a cabinetmaker with his own workshop in the ’50s before committing to art almost a decade later—with work clearly influenced by his professional experience in the intervening years. He describes his approach as an aesthetic liberation via the radical transformation of utility: “I’m making objects for nonuse. . . . By killing off the use part, nonuse aspects are allowed living space, breathing space.”

Fittingly, the objects on display in Artschwager’s

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2009 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.