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Thomas Grünfeld

Thomas Grünfeld

Thomas Grünfeld's pieces are always ambiguous, or rather hybrid. They provoke in the viewer attraction and uneasiness and cause deep questioning on the nature of art, on the statute of artistic objects in general. Grünfeld work started from a reflection on the anti-aestheticism of the ‘80 and an ironic critique of «Gemütlichkeit» (a typically german kind of coziness), that produced the tradition of the hunt trophies as well of the 18th century «cabinets d’amateurs». Both absurd and disconcerting, Grünfeld’s universe disturbs us as much by what is shown as by what it suggests.

 

In this sense, his «Misfits» are his emblematic pieces, collages of taxidermized animals, challenges to the creation, although hardly more unlikely than the platypus. In the paradox between their familiar appearance and their unsuitability to our lived experience, the «Misfits» institute a dialectics of the real and the imaginary. They deal with disturbing our certainties on any determination of the reality. It seems Grünfeld assumes that any artifice is as legitimate as what we believe «natural». In our time of cloning, of genetic manipulations, the «Misfits» take a troubling and happy resonance. They are shocks as well as litotes that let us imagine what unknown dangers, what extraordinary desires could give birth to a giraffe with swan’s neck and head, like the one that stands in its evidence at the entrance of the gallery.

 

The «Eye Paintings» present themselves under the aspect of monochrome objects, covered with a few emerging elements. Confronted to their reflecting surface, the viewer can spend a while trying to understand the intention of such a seedling or meditating on chance that they may metaphorise. A queerness seizes us soon when while looking at these egg- or tear-like pictures, one feels like observed. Inlaid in the immaculate, smooth and sterilized epoxy, the elements are obviously small glasseyes that scrutinize us. The «Eye Paintings» are like the mirror of all pictures given to our contemplation and send back us to our voyeur's position here seen by the very painting. Their false seriality, the discreet irony of their colors brings us to extreme disruption.

 

The «Gummis» provide a last example of the formal ambiguousness (or better, wealth) of Grünfeld work, always escaping a straight location: between sculpture and installation, wall or floor pieces, bi - or three-dimension. They hesitate also between serial logic and spontaneity. Their materials – foam and rubber–, tell enough about their eminently «plastic» significance.

 

 

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Artist's biography

Birth date : Jan. 1, 1956

Artist's biography