May 2–June 20, 2009
Sprüth Magers Berlin is delighted to be able to present Robert Elfgen’s new installation ‘grenzübergang’ (‘border crossing’). In a continuation of the artist’s interest in imaginary sites and their opening-up, the image of a quiet crossing constitutes the background to Elfgen’s new work. The situation of the passage, together with the narrative framework associated with it, is established through the arrangement of found and produced objects involving highly diverse materials. An illuminated ensemble consisting of a kayak along with picture- and light-objects takes possession of the exhibition space and engenders an intensive but also indefinite spatial feeling. Elfgen thereby creates a place which can be left behind, but which also contains the possibility of being rediscovered.
A semicircle made of panels of cloth encloses the described scene in the exhibition space. In the middle is a kayak which was constructed by Elfgen and whose entrance hatch has a cloth covering. Just as with his pictures and intarsia works, which combine image-conveyer, motif and framing into one object, the surface of the kayak also conveys an insight into the process of its artisanal production. Thus parts of the wooden frame and of the structure remain visible. Shimmering through the surface coating is the honeycombed structure of the supporting material, which takes up the fascination with bees evident in some of Elfgen’s earlier works, and which emphasizes his interest in structures and constructions. The ‘open’ surface contrasts with the decoratively closed-off entrance hatch. The viewer is thereby confronted with an object which, even though it would be capable of functioning in a familiar sense, nonetheless becomes the conveyor of an idea, a suggestion, through its partial non-completion and modification.