Stefan Wewerka, Chair sculpture 2, 2011. Wood, painted white, grey floor plate. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung - The International Design Museum Munich (A. Laurenzo). © VG BildKunst 2012
Pinakothek der Moderne
Die Neue Sammlung
The International Design Museum, Munich
Barer Strasse 40
Across the Board. Stefan Wewerka
October 11, 2012-February 3, 2013
“Gifted deformer of the ordinary” — this is how the artist-designer-architect Stefan Wewerka has been characterized by British architect Peter Smithson.
Born in Magdeburg in 1928, Stefan Wewerka studied in post-War Berlin at the Academy of Fine Arts. His first chair sculptures and multiples were produced in 1961 — items that Wewerka cut up and reassembled in a new way. In 1967 he invented Trikolore zum Zerreißen (Tricolor to be ripped apart): a French flag that could be divided up into three pieces by means of zips. His comment on Germany 1989: a hinge offered a makeshift way of connecting a five-mark piece with an East German coin.
Political, anything but conventional, surreal — Wewerka’s objects, installations and films adopt a stance on the present and observe everyday life and unctions with a flair for details. His chair sculptures, e.g. his Classroom Chair or Rubber Chair, put our conventional perception to the test — indeed, they even shy away from their most elementary function: sitting.
Shrewdly ironical, a thinker outside the box, he defines the point where art and everyday culture intersect. He has been designing utilitarian furniture since 1977 — this too, in his own way: for him, the kitchen area becomes a “kitchen tree” a desk something anti-hierarchical, and a seating area a large building.
Drive and imagination characterize his initial approach to his individual works. Here, drawing forms a fundamental component of his design process. In sketches, Wewerka jots down things that he has experienced and seen. He thinks asymmetrically and uses this to come up with new designs. By altering shapes, something comparable to undergoing a metamorphosis, Wewerka transforms destructive impulses into artistic ones. “Yesterday or tomorrow or today, past, future and present [... are] one fused entity” – as he puts it. Stefan Wewerka hovers between the everyday and art, showing with relish how familiar things can be thrown off balance.
The exhibition of Die Neue Sammlung — The International Design Museum Munich — is realized in close cooperation with the artist.