Tobias Rehberger

Tobias Rehberger

Tobias Rehberger – the chicken-and-egg-no-problem wall-painting, 2008
Installation view, Stedelijk Museum CS Amsterdam
Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
Copyright: Tobias Rehberger

June 26, 2008

Tobias Rehberger
the chicken-and-egg-no-problem wall-painting

28.06. – 21.09.2008

As if in a march past, Tobias Rehberger presents in this installation some 40 works spread along 70 metres. Casting chronology to the wind, he has simply placed works from 15 years of creative production next to one another: chairs reminiscent of designer classics, his ‘vase portraits’, artificial limbs mounted on plinths, paper flowers with a Japanese ring to them, lamps made of Velcro tape, objects made of Perspex, video racks. Lit by spotlights, the works all cast their shadows onto the white wall facing them. The old works are bathed in a new glory, while simultaneously a new work comes into being: a mural made of light, shadows and colour.

With this installation Tobias Rehberger transposes three dimensions into two. By combining the play of light with painting for his wall piece, he retains the dependency between the objects in space and what is depicted on the wall – for if the lights went out the wall painting would more or less disappear. “I like the idea that something elaborate and solid could be the starting point for something vague and sketchy“, as Tobias Rehberger comments on his installation.

Is this a retrospective or a new work? Right from the outset Tobias Rehberger was clear in his mind that the exhibition was not going to be a retrospective, although his remit – to present works from the last 15 years – virtually compelled him to do a retrospective: “Since we said from the beginning that it should be an exhibition of existing works, I thought about what that means. I thought about the classical way of dealing with this – which is the retrospective. But I was not interested in the more ‘historical’ approach to the overview of existing work. Therefore I asked myself what, from my own point of view, could be interesting about an exhibition of existing works. For me it was how this presentation could produce ‘non-existing’ works“. Although Tobias Rehberger’s exhibition has a hint of a retrospective about it, it is first and foremost a new installation. The choice of works was made not according to their importance for his oeuvre, but according to their function as raw material for something new. The artworks – normally an end in themselves – are here simultaneously the means to an end.

What was there first: the chicken or the egg? Tobias Rehberger’s wall painting cannot be imagined without his sculptures, just as the egg is impossible without the chicken. But: is a three-dimensional work conceivable without a two-dimensional sketch? Is a chicken possible without an egg? What came first? Rehberger’s sculptural work and its shadow image confront one another like he chicken and the egg.

The exhibition has been taken on from the Stedelijk Museum CS in Amsterdam.

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