Felix Schramm, Soft Corrosion, installation view, 2006, Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase,© Felix Schramm.

The Structure, as Expected, Gets Deconstructed

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street (between Mission and Howard Streets)
San Francisco

New Work: Felix Schramm
June 29-September 30, 2007

Organized by SFMOMA Assistant Curator Apsara DiQuinzio, the exhibition centers on a newly commissioned, ephemeral installation by German artist Felix Schramm. The presentation also features a selection of related photocollages and a newly acquired sculpture, Soft Corrosion, 2006.

Based in Düsseldorf, Germany, Schramm is best known for creating visceral, site-specific installations that respond to, and destabilize, the architecture of the institutions housing them. His twisted, splintered fragments of structural forms — walls, ceilings, floors — burst from the gallery’s framework at dramatic angles, producing large-scale works that resemble the aftermath of an unknown disaster. Schramm’s precarious planes seemingly penetrate the walls of the space, an illusion the artist achieves by constructing walls that mimic the institution’s architecture. Seeming at once threatening and fragile, each of Schramm’s constructions achieves a poetic balance between chaos and order, offering visitors an experience of physical tension in the gallery.


Over the course of three weeks, Schramm built a site-specific sculpture of monumental proportions inside SFMOMA’s galleries. Employing rudimentary materials such as sheetrock, plaster, plywood, metal brackets, and various found objects, the resultant work will span two galleries, measuring more than 18 feet high, 55 feet long, and 26 feet deep. In preparation for his site-specific projects, Schramm builds a maquette of the work within his studio. Once on site, however, he works spontaneously and organically, constantly reconfiguring the piece and working through obstacles that may arise during construction. Fragments of the sculpture frequently break off only to become re-integrated at a later point. Viewers will not be able to see the work in its entirety from any single vantage point, as one must move through, under, and around it, constantly changing perspective and position.

New Work: Felix Schramm also features Soft Corrosion, a circular sculpture made of wood, plaster, and sheetrock, with a turntable inside its hollow core that plays Guitarrenträume in Gold, a German recording of popular guitar melodies. Schramm discovered the record in a flea market near his home in Düsseldorf, and then rendered its songs unrecognizable by puncturing the album so it rotates on an irregular ellipse and plays at the slow speed of 16 rpm. The sound distortion produced by the artist’s modification heightens the experience of spatial disorientation that is central to Schramm’s practice.

Felix Schramm, This is not a wall, installation view, 2007, Courtesy Grimm | Rosenfeld, New York and Munich, © Felix Schramm, Photograph Stefan Rohner.