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Born: 1954, Oldenburg, Germany
Lives and Works: Düsseldorf, Germany
In his architectural models, figurative-inspired sculptures, and works on paper, Thomas Schütte uses distinctly un-monumental and anti-heroic gestures to examine formal artistic issues of scale, color, and dimensionality as well as to interrogate fundamental concerns of humankind. His work explores the role of the human subject, along with its limits and possibilities, through a nontraditional and expressive brand of figuration. Perhaps the best-known examples of his imaginative reinterpretation of the human figure are his Grosse Geister (Big spirits), large, amorphous, twisting characters cast in aluminum, bronze, or steel. From these ongoing explorations, the Zombies have evolved as fragmented sculptural piles of appendages, torsos, and heads taken from the Grosse Geister forms. Indebted to classical sculpture, Schütte's "figurative" heaps could perhaps be read as the artist's tragicomic interpretation of the human condition. Likewise his delicate watercolor paintings depict far more than their titles suggest. In Apple 5 (2007), for example, the sliced half of an apple lies near a grimacing stick-figure formally upending the objects' relative scale while imbuing the scene with unresolved allegorical intimations.
Links: Thomas Schütte on web