In his fourth solo exhibition at Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman, Peter Sandbichler redesigns the reception counter in the entrance area of the gallery to become a golden bar (2020), thus shifting a “place of longing“ into the exhibition space in a time of closed pubs and reduced social contacts. Through the temporary spatial intervention of folded cardboard boxes in a zigzag pattern together with a golden footrest bar, Sandbichler changes not only the visual appearance but also the functional purpose of the reception desk, which – transformed into a bar – now places visitors in an unusual spatial situation.

Peter Sandbichler is interested in functional shifts and content-related condensations that result from the reuse of found objects or materials. For more than 10 years he has been using packaging cartons as a resource-saving material, which allows him to “think big” and to realise space-consuming installations. The principle of folding two-dimensional surfaces into three-dimensional, modular structures proves to be a central constructive and aesthetic element.

The exhibition is deliberately oriented towards the street in order to create a dialogue with pedestrians. Various unusually presented objects – including a Tensegrity Light (1999/2020) made of six fluorescent tubes, an Alte Schachtel (engl. old box; 2020) made of papier-mâché or a concrete cast of an elephant leaf (2020) – create a new, sometimes irritating atmosphere. The work Fliegenauge (engl. fly’s eye; 2011) on the front wall of the main room contributes to this. Its recessed convex round mirrors are reminiscent of those used in road traffic or in “panoptic” buildings – such as prisons. Inevitably, a surveillance situation is suggested in which visitors can be observed from different perspectives.

As in many of Sandbichler’s works, the idea of recycling plays a central role in the two massive wooden bones (2020) presented in the main room of the gallery, made from hundreds of scraps of wood. They are 20-fold sculptural enlargements of beef bones, as they are used to cook soup. In these works, Peter Sandbichler deals with processes of form-finding, the compression and transformation of information – from the unconscious cut of the butcher to the conscious artistic act of reproduction. In addition, he is also experimenting with different ways of presenting sculpture, as the five orthogonal cut surfaces of the organic structures serve as variable standing surfaces. As a conceptual sculptor, Peter Sandbichler’s work always deals with the “materialisation of thoughts or ideas“ or the fundamental question “What is sculpture?“. Visitors to the exhibition can find out for themselves, to what extent sculpture can also influence physical perception in space.

Peter Sandbichler (born 1964 in Tyrol) first studied painting at the Art Students League in New York, and from 1984 sculpture at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna with Wander Bertoni and at the Academy of Fine Arts with Bruno Gironcoli. In 1993 he went for one year to the Institute for New Media at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main for postgraduate studies with Peter Weibel. This was followed by longer stays abroad in Tokyo, New York and Berlin. Peter Sandbichler currently lives and works in Vienna.

Since 1993 international exhibitions in galleries and art institutions as well as projects in public space, including 2020 Sussudio, Vienna; 2020 Kunstverein Eisenstadt; 2020 Medical University Innsbruck; 2020 Kundl, Tyrol; 2020 University of Innsbruck, Campus Innrain; 2019 Vienna Central Station; 2018 Galleria Doris Ghetta temporary, Milan; 2018 Gallery Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman, Innsbruck; 2017 Facade design Varta Haus Vienna; 2015 Facade design Arbeiterkammer Vienna; 2015 Gironcoli Museum, Herberstein Castle; 2015 Gallery Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman Vienna; 2013 Kunstforum Montafon, Schruns; 2013 Kunstraum Weikendorf; 2011 Galerie im Taxispalais Innsbruck; 2011 Kunstraum Bernsteiner, Vienna; 2010 Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; 2010 Galerie Grita Insam, Vienna; 2008 Pékin Fine Arts, Beijing; 2007 Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna; 2005 Project Space ARCO Madrid; 2002 New Museum New York (with Knowbotic Research); 2002 Galerie im Taxispalais Innsbruck; 2004 Künstlerhaus Vienna; 1999 Museum für Gestaltung Zurich; 1999 Kunstraum Innsbruck; 2001 Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; 1996 “KNOT/Project N. Y”, New York; 1995 46th Venice Biennale, Austrian Pavilion (with Constanze Ruhm); 1993 Ars Electronica Linz.

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Review / Parnass 04.2020

Review / Wiener Zeitung, 09.02.2021