“Micropolitics of perception”
From June 15th to July 13th, 2019
Opening June 15th 17:00
Veit Stratmann (1960) is a German artist living in Paris. His career had already brought him to the city of Porto: he participated in the exhibition Squatters, organised by the Serralves Museum and Porto 2001, European Capital of Culture; the following year I presented one of his projects at the Teatro Campo Alegre; and, more recently, Serralves acquired several of his works, which are now permanently installed in the foundation’s park.
Continuing the project Right [email protected] Weather, opening the designer store to contemporary art, we will present an exhibition of works by this author that combines drawings from the show Sol fixe – sol modulaire (2014) and part of a sculptural installation from the exhibition nx2 (2017), both presented at Galerie Valentin, in Paris.
Fundamentally concerned with how his works are rooted in experiences that translate a broad perspective of the practice of sculpture and installation in the context of post-conceptual processes, Veit Stratmann works not only with (or against) the space, but he also knowingly creates disruptive situations that lead to actions, planes of vision and experiences of that same space as a socially pliable and sensorial matter.
Using minimal structures to obstruct spaces, para-architectural compositions that modulate sight and perspective, or installations that directly address the history, the functionality and the institutional purpose of the most diverse spaces, the author reflects upon different modes of reception — more or less codified in the field of contemporary art — while emphasising the ever-existing tension between projectual intentionality and (un)disciplined fruition. Being true that, after Duchamp, the agency of the construction of the ‘artisticity’ of a given object or proposal has been assigned to the spectator, in the works by Veit Stratmann we can identify a recurring call to a deceptive participation. With no affiliated symbolic precepts or notices of inscription in a settled theoretical territory, his works simple are. Here, this being can result in an interference, an invitation, an uneasiness or in a simple denial. All these states of action or non-action represent a conditional autonomy of the spectator, who truly becomes the ultimate decider. As a user-manipulator, they can be pushed into a corner, see their perspective slightly altered or unwillingly forced to share their experience of the work with others.
The sculptures in the show are modular declinations in paired shapes that refer to an idea of support, albeit their functionality is deceptive. Fixed to the wall, they have an aura of solid and formally accomplished minimal structures (just like the drawings, studies for possible decorative floor patterns, they also result in a very pleasing visual experience). “You’ll make me do an art exhibition!” the artist complained ironically when I told him what works I would like to show. This fear that his work might be seen as an explicitly and purely aesthetic experience, is something I have recognised in him for many years. Nonetheless, the crudity and conceptual precision of his proposals offer me the exact opposite: the perceptual and visual habitability of a space with works by Veit Stratmann is always stricken with indecision and tension, as we question our position (literally and hermeneutically) in relation to them. The decision is never easy, but it is vital and, ultimately, it points towards a political gesture: a micropolitics of perception that asks us to ponder on the multi-faceted choreography of the thoughts it brings about.
Miguel von Hafe Pérez