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Cologne: Slavs and Tatars
June 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017
KÖLN SKULPTUR #8: AÂ AÂ AÂ UR
Slavs and Tatars
KölnSkulptur is a biennial series of exhibitions at Skulpturenpark Köln (Cologne Sculpture Park). It was initiated by the park’s founders, Dr. Michael and Dr. Eleonore Stoffel. KölnSkulptur #8 is the eighth new show and can be viewed from June 2015 onwards.
Encircled by busy thoroughfares, Skulpturenpark Köln occupies an area that is quiet enclave and urban periphery, park and no-man’s-land simultaneously. It is this space-defining tension which Thomas D. Trummer was drawing on when he chose the artists for the current exhibition.
Seven new artworks are on display, five of which are commissions. They all deal with the ideas of framing or the opposite, exclusion. The unshakeable, defiant presence of these monuments is supposed to inspire thought about contemporary political developments in Germany and Europe. They act as view obstacles and thematically stand for opposition, work and migration, for movement and rejection.
”Sculptures are statements of dissent, not ornamental islands.”
Thomas D. Trummer
The US conceptual artist Tom Burr is showing mirrored screens placed on the lawn, thus creating a forest of darkened, reflecting and distorting surfaces.Lois Weinberger, native of Tyrol, draws an aisle through the park, at the same time tear and cut, serving as road of invasion for immigrant plants. The art collective Slavs and Tatars is dealing with the migration of languages and the common root of Abrahamic religions by having a giant chain of prayer beads protrude from the ground. Amalia Ulman, born in Buenos Aires, is showing a wheelchair, miming the small wire mesh-constructions peddled by Latin-American migrants in their new home California. In parallel, the artist’s voice can be heard from an audiotape. Edith Dekyndt from Belgium works with ephemeral phenomena like wind, weather or tidal movements. She covered the steel entrance doors with copper. Climatic influences will eventually give the copper a green patina and in this way integrate it with surrounding nature. Santiago Sierra, resident of Madrid, is showing a giant black concrete cube. On its sides, metal figures show the working hours needed to produce it. The imposing block is like a flawless Kaaba, telling a story of hardship, work and exploitation. The US artist Matt Mullican, currently living in Berlin, visualizes his encyclopaedic world system on two benches, inviting visitors to sit down, but also to decipher the code.
Thomas D. Trummer left the biggest part of the permanent collection in the park, but created new emphases by moving some artworks. Among these are the works of the two German artists Ulrich Rückriem and Günther Förg.
Ulrich Rückriem is a sculptor, who lives in Cologne and London. He cuts his sculptures directly from the rock in the quarry and refrains from any further manipulation. The drillings and cracks in the granite remain visible. An ensemble of four blocks is now positioned centrally in the park. Günther Förg, who mainly worked as graphic artist and painter, has a high-rising bronze highlight the traces of manual work: grooves, tracts, knots and plastic modelling masses are reminiscent of the originally soft and pliable consistency of the material. At the same time the block is an insurmountable architectural element, it opposes the visitor as gestural wall.
Slavs and Tatars: AÂ AÂ AÂ UR