BERLIN.- Galerie Nordenhake
presents its first solo exhibition with Florian Slotawa. Instead of bringing new objects into the world, the artist recontextualises and rearranges what already exists and frequently develops his works through an intensive dialogue with the places in which they are presented. His fascination for shifts in meaning and the temporary reassignment of function is an important point of departure for this exhibition, which brings together photographs of his studio with a sculptural intervention.
The artist is known for his radical process, in which he uses his own possessions - from a car to a pair of skis - as sculptural material. His personal objects can, for a short time, transform into a meaningful work - as is the case with the aptly named "The Last Judgment" - only to land back in his apartment after the end of the exhibition as banal, functional objects. With these so-called "Besitzarbeiten" ("property works"), he has been developing since 1996 an array of temporary sculptural installations with high complexity and an emphasis on formal precision. The newest was generated this year for his recent solo exhibition at P.S.1, New York, and deals with Mondrian's "Pier and Ocean" (a seminal work from Mondrian's development of Geometric Abstraction). The "Besitzarbeiten" initiate both existential and general questions about the role of the possession in our culture, the differentiations between public and private, and the boundaries between the everyday life of the artist and his studio practice. They continually bring up artistic problems, which Slotawa has developed and explored in other bodies of work.
In the small-format photographs showing his studio space, the artist brings a heightened focus to the identity and meaning of those things that punctuate our immediate environment, and examines them in this instance with the rooms of his workspace as a location of artistic production. He systematically investigates the five rooms of his Berlin studio. The rooms are simultaneously the object of the images and the place of their formation: for the creation of the baryte prints, Slotawa constructed a darkroom in his studio. The neutral, economically straight-forward black-and-white photographs - often only informative, documentary views - show nearly empty rooms, and draw one's attention to the objecthood of the building's structure, much like the artist's exhibition "One After the Other" in the Arthouse Austin (2007). Details such as the colour of the walls, the door signs, electrical cables or spots on the floor catch the eye - structures and traces of earlier use, which the artist did not erase upon occupying the space. Slotawa uses the medium of photography in the sense of an extended concept of sculpture, to visualize the interim and final results of a comprehensive working process. Often the photographs are, as in the case of his hotel series from 1998-99, the only visual manifestation of the sculptural intervention. Here, in this new series, the studio photographs are juxtaposed with the sculptural intervention in the gallery space.
Florian Slotawa has ripped out pieces of his studio's walls and transferred them to the gallery space. During the duration of the exhibition, the physically displaced architectural pieces are layered against the storefront window, through which the gallery space opens onto the street. The installation changes the usual spatial impression of the gallery and conceptually links both the artist's workspace and the exhibition space. Through this unexpected intervention, our everyday perception of these places and their fluctuating relationship to one another becomes destabilized.
Florian Slotawa was born in 1972 in Rosenheim, and currently lives and works in Berlin. His solo exhibitions include P.S.1, MoMA, New York (2009); "Solothurn aussen", Kunstverein Solothurn, (2008); "One After the Other", Arthouse, Austin (2007); "Land gewinnen", Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (2005); "Bonn ordnen", Bonner Kunstverein (2004); and "Gesamtbesitz", Kunsthalle Mannheim (2002). He has taken part in numerous group exhibitions, most recently "Photodimensional", Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2009) and "Interieur/Exterieur. Wohnen in der Kunst", Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2008), as well as "Zwischen zwei Toden", ZKM Karlsruhe and "Made in Germany", Sprengel Museum, Hannover (both in 2007). His installation "Ersatzturm" was presented in the 4th Berlin Biennale (2006), "Of Mice and Men". Galerie Nordenhake worked with the artist in 2006 for the group exhibition "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore".