Yorgos Sapountzis’s exhibition "Nacktes Erbe: Die Äpfel" (Naked Heritage: The Apples) follows his much-noticed contribution to this year’s show Made in Germany at the Sprengel Museum in Hanover. For his installation there, titled Nacktes Erbe. Wir brauchen Euch alle (Naked Heritage: We Need You All), he presented sculptures from the museum’s collection in between colored fabrics and monotypes on a stage. For his second show at the Barbara Gross Galerie, Sapountzis further develops this work, creating new pieces out of it. Here, he continues examining the medium of sculpture and our relation to the relics of the past, which forms the foundation of his artistic practice.
In his performances, pictures, films, and installations Sapountzis approaches sculptures and monuments in empathic, emotional ways, turning them into the "protagonists" of his artworks. He ensnares their rigid bodies made of stone or bronze in fragile structures comprising aluminum rods, colored fabric, plaster, and needles, eliciting from them their own stories independent from the specific historical contexts in which they were made.
In Munich the gallery becomes the setting for a scene that unfolds in the space, whose main characters are the sculptures from Hanover. Although the originals themselves are not on display, fragmented, photographic reproductions of them are part of the installation, in the shape of monotypes printed on fabrics. In order to produce them, the artist photographed the sculptures—female and male nudes in bronze—as if they were models in a professional photography session, shooting them from various perspectives and then reassembling them in different ways. In a storefront mannequin, the sculptures, which are of art-historical significance find a mundane, contemporary counterpart with which they enter into a dialogue in the context of the installation.
A new video featuring stop-motion footage of an apple slicer introduces the theme of eating. Eating, chewing, digesting—for the artist, these processes have to do with form and its dissolution, and are thus closely related to his own artistic practice. At the same time the necessity of eating distinguishes the mortal body made of flesh and blood from the sculptural likenesses made of bronze or stone, which are made to last throughout eternity.
The exhibition is supplemented by a new, pictorial piece that recreates a wall of the artist’s studio in Berlin: a structure made of aluminum rods, belts, and fabrics copied in a monotype process. As he did for his installation Sculptures Cannot Eat, which was on display at this year’s Venice Biennial, Sapountzis employs the techniques of copying and repetition to interlace the situations in the studio and the exhibition, and hence, the sites of production and reception.