Tobias Rehberger, ‘It’s very warm when the sun comes out (1-4)’, 1998, GEMS AND LADDERS

Rehberger’s waist chains for GEMS AND LADDERS ‘It’s very warm when the sun comes out’ (1998/2006) encapsulate his artistic career over the past 20 years and demonstrate his collaborative and playful approach. The jewels were first worn by invigilators at the first Berlin Biennial in 1998; they could only be seen if visitors asked the staff to reveal them. The chains were engraved with the wearers’ names but were returned to the artist after exhibition. For the subsequent exhibition at London gallery Haunch of Venison in 2006 each gold chain gained a unique bright graphic enameling. As striking as the chains are, they are likely to be worn as private treasures.

Image rights: GEMS AND LADDERS, photo: Jens Ziehe

About Tobias Rehberger

Among Germany’s leading contemporary artists, Tobias Rehberger presents visually confounding objects and environments that question the ways art is defined. Playing with perception, literally and conceptually, the Golden Lion winner works across media, creating installations, sculptures, paintings, and sound and video art. “The bottom line, to put it very basically,” he has said, “is…what is art anyway?” His work can be understood as the repetitive asking of this question without the expectation of a fixed conclusion. His installations have been included in both the 50th and 53rd Venice Biennales. For the former, Rehberger presented a canopy of lamps, which could be turned on by switches located in seven different places around the world, among them a pumpkin field in Romania.

German, b. 1966, Esslingen am Neckar, Germany, based in Frankfurt, Germany