We are pleased to present Tobias Hoffknecht's first solo exhibition, titled Immature, in our Vienna gallery. We will be showing five sculptures made specifically for this exhibition, whose performative potential unfolds within the space and interaction with the viewer.
Tobias Hoffknecht's works develop in close relationship to the exhibition space, where the artist seeks to create a place where the connection between viewer, work, and space has to be continually renegotiated. In this way, Hoffknecht's five new works become a self-contained installation, which can be entered, crossed, and conquered by the viewer. As a result, lines and surfaces interact with their surroundings in very different ways. Sometimes, delicate line formations can be made out from the space or by approaching viewers, while other times clear forms appear to structure and support their surroundings. At the same time, each work produces its own very specific effect. Hoffknecht reduces the form to fundamental principles of design and to a completely clear, precise, uncompromising design vocabulary. He elevates the object by decidedly depriving it of any formal height.
With their serene expressive force, the sculptural bodies from polished stainless steel reference Hoffknecht's longstanding engagement with the path breaking design vocabulary of the Bauhaus. While in the ideology of the innovative design school form had to submit to function, for Hoffknecht the form becomes the foundational constant: form as function. He strips the objects of their practical component, such that they remain a pure steel pipe construction. Due to the missing surfaces, all that remains are the lines, which expand into the space that flows around them. As a result, the slim tubes from polished stainless steel increasingly develop their own life as the artist transforms them into a variety of forms. The works on display translate the prior line formations, open to space, into a new dimension. They grow, continue to expand, and finally become homogenous bodies in which the delicate and immaterial nature of the tubes angles itself into a static closedness. The fine lines thus end up becoming stable forms whose aesthetic is no longer based on the principle of the line but that of the surface.
Through the property of being closed, the material gains in relevance. The polished stainless steel is the key element of the reduced aesthetic of the works. It does not predetermine anything, neither limitations nor possibilities. The expansive objects are created from nothing, and Hoffknecht uses the potential of this freedom to form the material and breathe new life into it. In combination with its environment, the reflective quality of the material becomes a colorless surface that is open to any influences from the outside. The closedness is thus reinterpreted as an unconditional openness. The installations react vividly to the space that surrounds them. They blend with the color of the floor, absorb the gleaming white of the walls, and register any type of movement. They absorb the room, become one with it, and appear to almost repel it. As in a symbiotic exchange relationship, they influence the space, alter its configuration, and rupture its homogenous structure, only to be altered by it themselves.
In a performative manner, the sculptures not only interact with the space but also with the viewer. The reduced aesthetic of the objects prescribes nothing and leaves everything open. The works present themselves as deliberately apolitical and convey no concretely definable messages. They are not immediately accessible and do not reveal everything at once, but rather ask their observer to search within themselves for a meaning. It is in these blank spaces that not only does the distinctive potential of Hoffknecht's works reveals itself, but also elicits the risk attending to the openness of the reduced formal language-the viewer encounters a challenging task. Only in exchange with a sensitive observer who recognizes the dialogic potential of the works and approaches it with her own associations do they unfold their distinctive effective force.
Tobias Hoffknecht was born in Bochum in 1987. He studied experimental sculpture at the Arts Academy of Düsseldorf with Rosemarie Trockel. His works have been shown in numerous solo and group shows in Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Greece, Italy, and Germany-with stand out solo exhibitions at the Kunstverein Bochum and at the Museum Morsbroich in Leverkusen. He lives and works in Düsseldorf.