German sculptors Albert Hien (Munich, Germany, 1956), Thomas Schütte (Oldenburg, Germany, 1954), Bogomir Ecker (Marburg, Slovenia, 1950), Wolfgang Luy (Trier, Germany, 1949) and Reinhard Mucha (Düsseldorf, Germany, 1950) share the same nationality, discipline and belong to the same generation, but their work does not have too much in common. To that extent a certain industrial aesthetic derived from the materials chosen and how they are worked is seen in the work of Hien, Ecker and Mucha, while Schütte and Luy share an architectural purpose and spatiality . But, when together as a group, they cannot stop speaking about the diversity of German sculpture during the Eighties and the different avenues of research that were being considered.
Albert Hien's sculptures are characterised by ideas that are similar to do-it-yourself. Named "failed instruments" by the artist, his works seem to be prototypes of industrial machines whose functionality has been altered to make them look like artistic objects. The lightweight structuralism of his pieces, mostly made with sheets of aluminium or copper, is hidden behind a heavy and grey appearance which the artist provokes as a critique about the evolution of manufacturing and production in series. Among the exhibits in the exhibition Ohne Titel (Serpentinata) from 1984 stands out, a curious fountain, reminiscent of Duchamp’s urinal.
Thomas Schütte, perhaps the German sculptor with the greatest impact of this collection, presents in this exhibition his conception of architecture as decoration. His playful and ironic intentions come through in the initially puzzling aspect of his pieces in which the sculptures series Mann im Matsch (1986) is the only anthropomorphic reference in the exhibition.
Directly related to the senses, Ecker Bogomir’s work unfolds through codes invented by the artist, signs that have no real referent, but have the intention of achieving sensory stimulation. The bell, ear or horn serve to appeal to a sense of hearing by mapping relations that guide the viewer through his mysterious world of light and shadow. Projektor (1986), U-Anlage (1986) and zwei, drei, vier-eins nach zwei (1986) are some of his sculptures in the exhibition.
Sculpture and nature converge in Wolfgang Luy’s work, using wood as his main material and the horizontal as an axis of expansion. His concern for architecture, urbanism and even interior design, is made explicit in pieces such as O.T.or Der gebrochene Kreis, both from 1984. The exhibition also includes interventions on the wall such as Wall Piece (1984) which extend in an obvious way the spatial limits of sculpture.
The last of the chosen artists, Reinhard Mucha, bases his work on the transfer between the aesthetic and living space, without proposing any apparent distinction between them. Although heavily dependent on context, with which Mucha directly works, his sculptures have great weight and apparent autonomy. The usual dynamics between which his works take place are games of appearance, what he hides and what he leaves visible, what appears and what disappears. His work Hagenow Land (1986) is one of the cornerstone pieces of this exhibition.