exhibition

tobias rehberger - the chicken-and-egg-no-problem wall-painting
22 Aug - 25 May 2008

Exhibition Tobias Rehberger Stedelijk Museum CS Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij, Amsterdam
Exhibition Tobias Rehberger Stedelijk Museum CS Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij, Amsterdam

The chicken-and-egg-no-problem wall-painting is the new installation that Tobias Rehberger (1966,Esslingen, Germany) has realized especially for theStedelijk Museum.  

The artist created this seventy metres long work, using a selection of more than forty of his sculptures, environments and video pieces produced over the last fifteen years. In situ, he added a light plan and mural paintings.

In the 1990s Tobias Rehberger gained international acclaim for works that may initially appear to be all about contemporary form, such as architecture, design and fashion. Rehberger’s intention is not so much to create a fusion of art, architecture and design but rather to focus on the differences between them. Rehberger’s work questions the function, the use and the autonomy of the objects, as well as the relationship between the sketch, the model and the finished object.

The title of the exhibition, the chicken-and-egg-no-problem wall-painting, is a reference by Rehberger to his production method, which involves the creation of new installations out of previous installations. The artist keeps on asking himself: Which came first: the chicken or the egg? And where do art works come from and where do they lead? The same question can be applied to this exhibition: is it a retrospective exhibition of sculptural work? Or do the individual objects simply form the raw material for an entirely new work: a painting in light and shadow on a gallery wall?

Light and its sources occupy an key position in Rehberger’s work – they often evoke the memory of a place or a specific moment. Light is a central element in the Video Libraries, for example in Joan Crawford Slapping Library and Monster Triumphing Library, for which Rehberger compiled important moments from cinema history. The images, played upon a television screen, are visible only as flickering light on the wall. Another significant work is 84 Jahre Film, a video work with the span of a human life. The entire colour spectrum of the video projector, composed of 3.6 million colours, is projected over a period of 84 years.

Other works of Rehberger that will literally be placed in a new light are Modello di Campo 6, consisting of a group artists’ portraits in the form of flower vases, and the sculpture Platz für 15 Albaner (aus London), a model for the (unrealised) tree house that Rehberger wanted to build as a hidden public sculpture on the south coast of Spain. It was supposed to be used as a first shelter for illegal immigrants from Africa stranded on the Spanish shore.

The exhibition is being curated by Leontine Coelewij, curator at the Stedelijk Museum.

Next February’s issue of the Stedelijk Museum Bulletin will include an interview with the artist.

With special thanks to the Goethe-InstitutAmsterdam