April 27–June 16, 2012
Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are pleased to present a new exhibition by Robert Elfgen in Berlin.
Robert Elfgen focuses on the relationship between nature, human beings, and society. Biographical experiences and everyday observations serve the artist as the point of departure for his works. When the viewer enters one of his space-related installations, the sculptures, assemblages, collages, and films are linked associatively and transformed into spatial allegories which make it possible to experience a private mythology. Transitional situations, social threshold-rituals, the cycle of nature, and the shifts of aggregate states: material and immaterial transfers provide the motifs for his symbolic, often whimsical visual worlds.
The works themselves combine artisanally perfect execution with improvisation. Age-old artistic techniques such as glass engraving, marquetry, metal etchings, and relief printing are juxtaposed with used materials, found objects, chance occurrences, and mechanical bricolages.
Elfgen frequently works for an extended period with formal leitmotifs which he derives from nature. Belonging to these series are animals which are made of wooden inlays and mounted upon a monochrome background, abstract-geometrical paintings which imitate the architecture of beehives, or milky, semi-transparent surfaces and backgrounds which are reminiscent of the moods of light in nature. These works move within a dynamic field between the poles of abstraction and concreteness. In spite of their physical presence, they accordingly acquire an ephemeral character.