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Thomas Schütte: 'Big Buildings - Models and Views'

Thomas Schütte: 'Model for a Hotel', 2007, glas, aluminum, steel, installation view, Bundeskunsthalle 2010, Foto: David Ertl, Köln


After Thomas Schütte's retrospective at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia earlier this year in Madrid, now, the German Bundeskunsthalle focuses on his art: The show in Bonn displays some 60 works from recent 30 years.


Mr. Schütte is one of the most awarded and exhibited artists from Germany:


  • Three(!) participations in the prestigious Documenta in Kassel: 1987, 1992 and 1997
  • Participation in 'Skulptur.Projekte in Münster' 1997, Germany
  • Golden Lion for the best artist at the Venice Biennial in 2005
Thomas Schütte: 'Holiday House for Terrorists' 2009–2010, installation view from inside; wood, cloth, height approx. 400 cm, photo: David Ertl, Köln © y the artist courtesy of Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn



Important collectors, like Friedrich Christian Flick and Ingvild Goetz, are collecting his works in depth. However, auction results remained comparatively poor in recent years.



Thomas Schütte: 'Big Buildings' of 1989, cardboard, wood, 11 partts, dimensions variable, installation view at Bundeskunsthalle 2010; photo: David Ertl, cologne © by the artist, courtesy Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn


His work is very broad: When the art world finally got used to Schütte's architectural models, he started to work in clay, bronze or steel to produce strange figures like 'Dog II + III'.


Thomas Schütte: 'Dog II + III' of 2004, made of enameled pottery, Installation view of Bundeskunsthalle 2010; Foto: David Ertl, Cologne © by the artist; courtesy of Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn


I think, the main goal of Thomas Schütte's art is to reestablish fallow fields of visual art, which have been abandoned and considered 'Kitsch' or bad taste by avant-garde  artists of the 1970s.



Thomas Schütte; photo: David Ertl, Cologne


Much of Schütte's art circles around questions of art as a model and the (architectural) model as art. It is an interesting experience to walk through a 'model' higher than a man. I read the super-sized model of a hotel, which will never be built, as an ironic comment about the monumentalism of Soviet Lenin mouments - or any other figure representing social utopia.


He investigates the common ground and the separation of visual arts and architecture.  Often he refers to the architect Étienne-Louis Boullée (1728 - 1799), who was the leading utopian architect during the time of the French revolution.


Schütte graduated in 1981 from Düsseldorf Art Academy. His professor was the German painter star Gerhard Richter. Schütte says, 'It is hard to beat your teacher in a field, in which he seems to be unbeatable.' Therefore, he gained his fame as 'post-modern' sculptor and drawer.




by Chris Neuschler



Thomas Schütte: 'Big Buildings - Modelle und Ansichten' at Bundeskunsthalle of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn


Through 1 November 2010




Liam Gillick: 'Status following closure', of 2008; powder-coated aluminum, Plexiglas; 300cm x 200cm x 30cm; (c) the artist; courtesy Bundeskunsthalle Bonn
Christoph Büchel Secession outside installation view 2010 (c) photo courtesy of Secession, Vienna


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