In his installations, Thomas Schütte (born in 1954 in Oldenburg, living and working in Düsseldorf) always investigates a given spatial situation. He takes these situations as opportunities for artistic creations which formulate his concern in regard to the concrete preconditions of presenting and interpreting art. His indoor works as well as those for outdoor public space thematise communication processes between the work of art and the viewer, accentuating various aspects of formal dependency of sculptural expression and its visual reception. In this sense, Thomas Schütte uses the spatial givens in an exhibition situation as the backdrop for staging his artistic ideas, making them debatable within an aesthetic space of experience.

This means that Schütte's installations are situated in a field of reference between sculpture and its situational visual perception, in which the genre-specific conditions of sculpture and painting are played off against each other.

"The Laundry": wooden models of washing-machines against the walls and clothes-lines put up across the room with lanes of fabric hung to them containing "sayings" simulate a launderette. The sculptural elements represent recognisable objects of everyday life. The setting places their banality into a different context of meaning. The leading element in this ambivalent, pictorial reversal of function is the instrumental inclusion of language. Schütte's "sayings" painted on lanes of fabric open for the staging an associative room-to-play, revealing to the viewer the fact that the world of everyday life and the art business are both perceptual spaces resembling stage-settings. This openness of pictorial structures of perception appears as a condensed model in "Mohr's Life": two small modelled figures "live" in an imaginary room containing miniature pictures on small easels next to a rack with carefully lined-up socks that fit the tiny figures as little as the coloured shirts do with which they are dressed, or rather wrapped up in. A collection of unmistakable objects that are fit together in a playful way forming an overall picture whose divergences draw the viewer into an ambiguous, unreal room of experience.

Photo: Katrin Schilling