‘Sex and Friends’, Tobias Rehberger
HS Projects presented an exhibition of recent works by Tobias Rehberger. Rehberger draws inspiration from modernist art history, fashion, architecture, 1960’s and 1970’s design to create quirky and interactive objects, sculptures and environments, principally revolving around the concept of transformation. Rehberger is well known for his provocative ideas such as his proposal to refashion a Donald Judd sculpture into a bar and his questioning of authorship such as in sending basic sketches of luxury cars to a Thai car manufacturer who created inevitably imperfect versions of the vehicles based on the drawings. Working with industrial processes and technological innovations, and drawing on a repertoire of quotidian objects appropriated from everyday mass-culture, Rehberger translates, alters and expands ordinary situations and objects with which we are familiar.
‘Untitled (Sex)’, 2012 is a brightly coloured, abstract, quasi-anthropomorphic sculpture with retro, kitsch, Op like qualities. Depending on the ambient light, the work casts an eloquent word shadow on the floor, which reads ‘SEX’, accentuated by the sculptural configuration of its fleshy crests. The shadow word and its disappearance in space plays a kind of visual trickery on the beholder and acts as a good metaphor for transportation, for shifting from one place to another. As with all of Rehberger’s works, the viewer plays a vital role in the interpretation and meaning of the work and is invited to enter into a dialogue on perception, authorship and temporality.
‘Untitled (Anne Frank)’, 2011, which comprises of two works, is a brightly coloured, fluorescent sculpture and neon-environment machine, where the slick, glossy perfection of the manufactured is paired with the intentional imperfection of the crafted and the hand made. One work, Frank, composed of yellow, orange and transparent eclipses speckled with dots, creates an enjoyably kitsch, colourful, modulating abstraction, while the other work, Anne, is an upright of cubist wooden geometry which casts a shadow spelling the word ‘Anne’.
As with ‘Anne’, ‘Untitled (Never)’, 2011 is an upright of cubist wooden geometry which casts a shadow spelling the word ‘Never’. At first glance the sculptures seem abstract; they seem to question the functionality of an art object. Then, at regular but very brief times of the day, the amorphous shadows suddenly come together to form a previously hidden message.
‘Sex and Friends’ was at 5 Howick Place from May 2013 to March 2014.