Michael Sailstorfer, ‘M.46’, 2016, Perrotin

Michael Sailstorfer’s masks made of aluminum, bronze, gold, or iron are characterized by reduced stylistic features. Because of their primitive seeming expression they recall on the one hand the cult masks of primitive people and on the other hand, the objects reveal the process of their contemporary production. Sailstorfer’s sculptures play with the symbolism of the earliest masks, such as the exorcism of spirits, protection from demons or the ancestor cult. Seen in art history, the sculptures refer to masks of Oceanic and African Art and are as well connected to the Primitivism in the Classical Modern. However, they also reflect a post-apocalyptic aesthetic as the masks resemble robots which could have been made from recycled metal.

About Michael Sailstorfer

Michael Sailstorfer’s site-specific interventions emphasize transformation and challenge conventional rubrics of sculpture. He gives objects new meanings and functions by reconfiguring, though not deconstructing, them. Much of Sailstorfer’s work involves breaking down an object to reveal its physical components, as in the case of Zeit ist keine Autobahn (Time is not a motorway) (2005). The work features a spinning, motor-powered tire pressed against a wall; as the tire wears down, rubber particles collect on the floor and the scent of burning rubber fills the installation space. Sailstorfer cites the site-specific, performative work of Gordon Matta-Clark as a key influence, and says he is “interested in what sculpture can be and how a sculpture can spread out and use much more space than it physically has.”

German, b. 1979, Velden, Germany, based in Berlin, Germany

Solo Shows

Carbon 12, 
Silver Cloud
Michael Sailstorfer: Antiherbst
Carbon 12, 
Michael Sailstorfer-Try to Reach the Goal Without Touching the Walls
View Artist's CV