MICHAEL SAILSTORFER | WE LOVE THEM ALL
20 January - 4 March, 2018
German artist Michael Sailstorfer's We Love Them All tackles formalist concerns through amorphous ceramic masks mottled with glaze drips and marbling. A continuation of his 2015 metal mask series, the reductionist stylization nods towards Oceanic and African Art with slits to recall mouths, surface manipulations to indicate eyes, and pointed protrusions to suggest noses. The art historical references are layered atop Sailstorfer’s contemporary material play – the ceramic portraiture reads Classical Primitivism, but the masks hold their own as futuristic, humanoid interpretations – architectural visages equally informed by post-apocalyptic and repurposed aesthetics.
We Love Them All exists in both archaic and futurist paradigms, and this dialogue can be read across Sailstorfer’s diverse ceramic faces. Born of individual combination processes, each mask uniquely captures the complex dichotomy between historical methodologies and associations to ceremonial exorcisms and protection, and inertia towards synthetic futures. While engaging ideological uniformity from each epoch, Sailstorfer’s omission of homogeny in the humble physicality reinforces a material charm that asserts notions of individualism.
The masks embody a status quo marked by a rumination on contemporary production, future possibilities, history and symbolism. However, Sailstorfer’s metaphysical proposition culminates high above the masks in Solarkatze, a grey taxidermy feline perching near the ceiling and gazing towards the neon light. Its basking in and absorption of the illuminating warmth via its innate meditative introspection is as much a guide to attain omniscient enlightenment as it is a mediation on future use of organic pasts – and We Love Them All’s final material intervention – epitomizing Sailstorfer’s moments of individualized artifice in a pre-existing, historically-imbued reality.
-Katrina Kufer, December 2017