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Thomas Schütte und Andreas Schmitten
The fifth exhibition at KAT_A again juxtaposed the works of two different artists: the grand old master of German sculpture, Thomas Schütte and the shooting star of the current German art scene, Andreas Schmitten. It became clear in the exhibition that the doyen Thomas Schütte functions as an important trailblazer for Andreas Schmitten. With Schütte, he not only shares a multi-faceted and practiced way of using forms as well as an undercurrent of humor, but also the ability to transfer classic forms into a new, contemporary visual language. Both artists pursue their mainly sculptural work alongside drawings, watercolors and architectural models – always with an eye for human beings and their corporeality. With his sculptures and models, created using a wide variety of materials, Thomas Schütte enables the viewer to experience emotions and physical sensations as well as what defines space and the human body. Between wit, irony and sharp social criticism, he explores diverse expressions of human existence – sensual, subversive and multilayered. Andreas Schmitten is also known for his space-consuming, highly complex installations and sculptures, in which figures, objects and interiors are staged as fantastic, even surreal worlds, at the same time becoming amorphously alive. Through conscious consideration of materiality and production processes, both artists create a tremendously broad and often experimental spectrum that in Schütte’s case ranges from monumental works in highly polished aluminum, iron and bronze all the way to exemplary, handmade ceramics with rough surfaces, while Schmitten drives his perfectly lacquered surfaces, strangely pale color palette as well as mannered, elegant forms to technical perfection. Both artists’ sculptural oeuvre stands alongside a large independent area of graphic works. The drawings and watercolors are often conceived as grouped pieces and series. In a synthesis of aesthetics, complex content and material allure, Schmitten combines archetypal (art) symbols in completely new ways and ironizes them. In this, he uses a stylistic idiom that recalls masterpieces from the past and applies it to seemingly profane everyday objects.