CtC’s Artist of the Month for September is Mexico City and London-based artist Stefan Brüggemann (1975, Mexico City).
His practice unfolds through painting, sculpture and drawing, often combined together in large-scale installations embedded with references to social critique and popular culture. With this in mind, a recurring element in his oeuvre is text; through the use of words, which emerge in slogan-like arrangements or in the format of conceptual propositions, language reveals itself in its performative nature – where the function of communication is preceded, if not superseded, by the consumption of an action.
Brüggemann’s installations therefore speak of the material quality of culture; on the one hand emphasising the commercial value of products, to the detriment of their function, and on the other hand suggesting an ironic interpretation of the collective, social, mechanisms of the everyday. In this endeavour, the notion of re-appropriation plays a fundamental role. Sometimes, by means of a conceptual gesture, the artist challenges historically established mediums, enacting a re-contextualisation of renowned artworks such as with Monument for the Ceiling; a reinterpretation of Dan Flavin’s Monument for Tatlin (1966-1969), where ten fluorescent tubes installations are horizontally displayed on the ceiling. At other times he subtly returns to collaboration to question compelling issues as ownership and copyright. This is the case of SHIFT, an ongoing work initiated in 2009 in the context of an art fair, consisting of a periodical exchange of authorship between two artworks by Brüggemann and Robert Barry – later extended to Luis Camnitzer as well.
The materials employed range from vinyl to neon, from paint to industrial elements and the works are frequently developed in series. By analysing them chronologically, it is possible to identify an evolutionary path going from object to installation; with a progressive invasion of the space in an increasingly immersive manner. An evident instance in this regard is the series Headlines & Last Line in the Movies. Initiated in 2009, it presents a sequence of sentences selected from newspapers and the cinema, which are conceptually overturned into maxims to highlight the contemporary tension between reality and fiction. Whilst early works from this series encompassed sculptural installations or took the shape of freestanding pavilions (e.g. the 2015 Protest Pavilion displayed at GAM, Mexico City), the most recent ones – as that presented in the occasion of the solo exhibition Stefan Brüggemann (29 Jun – 29 Jul 2016, Hauser & Wirth New York) – are spray-painted directly onto the walls of the gallery, literally occupying and, to a certain extent, redesigning the physical space. A selection of his works is currently on display until the 16th of October at the CGAC (Galician Centre of Contemporary Art), Santiago de Compostela, within the exhibition To Be Political It Has To Look Nice curated by Santiago Olmo.
Brüggeman’s work is included in numerous private and public collections such as: Frac Bourgogne Collection (France), The Marguiles Collection (USA), Albright Knox Art Gallery Collection (USA), La Colección Jumex (Mexico), Jerry Speyer Collection (USA), Gelman Collection (Mexico), Dakis Collection (Greece) and Walter van Haerents Collection (Belgium).
For the month of September, CtC will present a selection of Stefan Brüggemann’s works on Facebook and Twitter.
Check the CtC pages regularly to see the next one.
Miriam La Rosa