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Thomas Schutte

Artist 219

Thomas Schutte Sculptural Subversion Thomas Schütte (born 1954) is a German contemporary artist. He sculpts, creates architectural designs, and draws. He lives and works in Düsseldorf. Since the late 1970s Thomas Schütte has been subverting traditional art historical genres through his eclectic output of sculptures, prints, installations, drawings, watercolors, and photographs.

He is know for working across media in print, watercolor, and installation but he is best known for his sculptures—particularly his figures—which range from miniatures to large-scale public works.

Often unsettling or uncomfortable, his sculptures feature twisted expressions and a malevolent presence, exploring the artist’s role in contemporary society.

Schütte makes familiar forms of expression. Such as in his treatment of the female nude where figurative shapes morph into abstract or mutant forms. In another example where the subjects’ despondent expressions highlight the vulnerability of the individual against the cruelty and complexity of the vast world.

Through his work he explores the human condition, offering a critical perspective on social, cultural, and political issues. His visually eloquent commentary on memory, loss, and the difficulty of memorializing the past uses his approach to art as a mode of intuitive play. Schütte models things to tell stories—often using what he calls “high-end bricolage” to break the rules and spiritedly put things together that he knows are wrong. He believes, however, that one has to make good mistakes, and then learn from them.

Schütte’s art mixes the mythic with the utilitarian, turning child’s play into a sculptor’s experimentation with materials.

He follows the advice his mentor Gerhard Richter gave him when he was a student: find your own way by creating a repertoire, not a style. Schütte has often stated that it’s not an easy way, but that it’s been the right way for him

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