Thomas Schutte (Contemporary Artists (Phaidon))

Lingwood, James

Published by Phaidon Press, 1998
ISBN 10: 0714837148 / ISBN 13: 9780714837147
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Synopsis: German artist Thomas Schutte (b.1954) is concerned with models for living, rules for making art and, in turn, the failed flights of these systems and aspirations. Schutte's art looks utilitarian - offering shelter, sustenance and companionship - but delivers false promises and alien worlds such as his museum that incinerates art, potatoes made of bronze and the artist's vision of humanity as tiny wooden audiences, two-headed hybrids or giant robotic figures. Schutte's sculptures vary in scale from giant candy-coloured fruits to miniature fairy-tale buildings. The artist manipulates size, materials and subject matter with astounding versatility and dexterity, perpetually shifting scales so that the viewer is immersed in a series of poetic yet dysfunctional utopias. He has also constructed a series of architectural models of institutions and monuments whose eclectic array of building typologies suggest de Chirico-like metaphysical spaces. Schutte's sculptures, installations, photographs and watercolours have been exhibited in museums and galleries as well as in public commissions throughout Europe and America. This book, which accompanied the first major survey of Schutte's work in Britain (Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1998) remains the essential monograph on the work of this enigmatic and extraordinary artist. Julian Heynen, Director of Exhibitions at the Krefeld Art Museums, who curated Schutte's first museum exhibition in 1986, charts a topography of media and subject matter in the artist's work. James Lingwood, Co-Director of Artangel, London, and curator of the 1998 Schutte survey at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, speaks with the artist about the development of his practice and his relationship to European sculptural traditions in a German context. Italian art critic and curator Angela Vettese focuses on the artist's contribution to the 1997 Skulptur Projekte in Munster, Kirschensaule (Cherry Column). Schutte has selected a passage by the Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca from 'De Vita Beata' on the paths of happiness. The artist's own writings are represented by a bedtime story, a fantastical allegory of the art world and its unexpected sequel.

Review: Thomas Schütte is a catalog of works by this contemporary German artist. Schütte studied under Gerhard Richter, Benjamin Buchloh, and Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Düsseldorf Academy in the 1970s. He comes from that strong conceptual background, but as his career matured the emotional content of his work evolved and became much more potent. Schütte's work is incredibly eclectic: ceramic figures, architectural models, drawings, outdoor sculptures, photographs, and installations. A recent work, Big Spirits (1996), is a collection of larger-than-life-size aluminum figures that seem to be morphing before one's eyes. They are at once ghost, human, and machine. Also riveting is The Innocents (1994), a series of photographs of the heads of handmade figurines, and United Enemies, A Play in Ten Scenes (1993)--offset lithographs, also of figurines wrapped in Schütte's clothes. His watercolors are beautiful, ranging from drawings of fruit to portraits of women. Whatever the project, Schütte is tapped in to a particular humanity.

Included in the book are essays by Julian Heynen and Angela Vettese, an interview with James Lingwood, and an essay by Roman philosopher Seneca, chosen by the artist. There is also a story by Schütte--printed in English for the first time. --Jennifer Cohen

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Title: Thomas Schutte (Contemporary Artists (...
Publisher: Phaidon Press
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Very Good

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