Michael Sailstorfer. If eyes had no tears

The first solo exhibition in London, by German artist, is including video, sculpture, sound and interventions characterized by teardrop leitmotifs.

Michael Sailstorfer, Tear Show, vista dell’installazione, fino al 10 novembre, KÖNIG Londra

Michael Sailstorfer’s last solo show evokes a new teardrop-like analogy to define his poetic in order to assign a reverberation, a revelation also to a sonorous quality. Such a figurative description allows for the consideration of time, space and movement in the contemplation of certain types of imageries. But it also suggests that the first point of perception is a bodily one. Sonority is a quality heard and felt, it is a vibratory response that arises first from the senses before being intellectualised. Indeed, Sailstorfer first solo show in London at König, titled Tear Show, suggests how artists today use body fluids expressing inner states, representing tears as a primal human act of communication.
In wider terms, artworks inspired by or sublimating bodily fluids appear, weirdly and wonderfully, the essence of a new approach. But his unique understanding of the vocabulary of sculpture, formalising and transforming known materials or mechanical systems into objects that readily and thoughtfully transcend their original purpose. At once solemn and darkly humorous, his works are imbued with a captivating tension, hinting at notions of destruction, transformation, and change. Sailstorfer, for instance, in London has just realized a series of pictorial landscape images using what he claims are different varieties of tears – revealing the difference between variegated emotional species of weeping. The main exhibition room features thirty tear paintings, a flattening of the dimensions to pure symbolic shape. The paintings are made with lipstick on silicone, an ode to the artist’s playful approach to materiality. Questioning concepts of fluidity and mass, his playful manipulation of form and constant reinvigoration of the sculptural medium through use of sound and temporality has consistently designated this solo show.

Solid, crashing teardrops are central components in the renowned Tränen (2015), a video, installed into gallery’s elevator, depicting a rural German cottage being crushed down to the foundations by a series of giant raindrops. Three at a time they slowly descend onto the roof tiles, timber work and the breeze block exterior. One plummets straight through the roof, another deflect off, tearing a route through the tiles, the third clips the apex falling behind the building. Slowly, over nine minutes, the impacts have a collective result, through the roof, through the timbers, taking down the walls and pummelling the remains.

Michael Sailstorfer, Tear Show, vista dell’installazione, fino al 10 novembre, KÖNIG Londra
Michael Sailstorfer, Tränen, 2015, Tear Show, KÖNIG London

In Tränen, the artist gently assuages our visions of industry and change with wrecking ball tear drops: they deliver a multitude of destructive blows onto an unassuming house below. As the video begins, what appear to be exaggerated, cartoonish raindrops quickly make themselves known as very real, and very heavy, custom-fabricated wrecking balls. Summarizing, three huge light-blue drops fall in succession, gradually obliterating the roof and chimney. The outer and inner walls come next, following an orderly system until the house stands in a ruinous heap. At this point we have a sense of satisfying conclusion, albeit one that comes from seeing a somewhat callous job completed. In the gallery’s entrance, other tears are distributed even as the umlauts over the “O” in “KÖNIG” turned into red teardrops; but the artist’s main exploration is much more related to objective duration, rhythm, and a play on physical attributes of reality that are taken for granted.

Read Also: Space Shifters. Visual trickery at London's Hayward Gallery

Alongside these minimal interventions, there is D.A.V.E.L.O.M.B.A.R.D.O., a sound piece named after the drummer of American band Slayer, spread out throughout the space with seemingly self-directed drum sets scattered throughout the exhibition, creating a cacophony of rhythm. Paralleling the spread of sound is constantly dispersed over 200 glass tear bottles, disseminated on the floor across the exhibition space.

Exhibition Title:
Michael Sailstorfer. Tear Show
Opening dates:
From October 5 till November 10, 2018
KÖNIG London
259-269 Old Marylebone Road, London NW1 5RA

Latest on Art

Latest on Domus

Read more
China Germany India Mexico, Central America and Caribbean Sri Lanka Korea icon-camera close icon-comments icon-down-sm icon-download icon-facebook icon-heart icon-heart icon-next-sm icon-next icon-pinterest icon-play icon-plus icon-prev-sm icon-prev Search icon-twitter icon-views icon-instagram