Björn Schülke, Überschall
January 18 – February 23, 2008
Bjorn Schülke debuts kinetic sculpture at bitforms gallery in New York.
bitforms gallery nyc is pleased to announce a first solo exhibition in the United States with artist Björn Schülke. Opening January 18, Überschall features five new sculptures in wood and fiberglass.
Björn Schülke (b. 1967, Germany) pursues a creative style that is equally influenced by modern abstraction and instruments of scientific measurement. The slow deliberate movements in his sculptures spatially consider mass and weight of form. Also influenced by Dadaist tradition and Jean Tinguely, the theme of an absurd machine is key in Schülke’s work. Punctuated by their white glossy surfaces, Schülke’s sharp three-dimensional compositions evoke the volume in Alexander Calder’s mobiles and the sonic circuitry of Peter Vogel.
Meditative and shapely, Schülke’s wiry linear forms give way to bulbous satellite bodies and ambient tonal reverberations. Suspended from the gallery ceiling, Schülke’s Luftguitarre series sculptures are human in scale and resemble musical stringed instruments such as the banjo, violin and contrabass. Floating mid-air, the effortless rotation of these sculptures conjures a familiar echo of explosive chords ringing in a live concert. The simple auditory experience delivered by these objects contrasts with their visual complexity. Activated by the approach of visitors, a minimal pluck of a singular steel cord results from Schülke’s elaborate and delicate construction of solar panels, wood, a motion sensor and propeller.
Supersonic emits soft, low frequency sounds from a contoured and zepplin-shaped fiberglass shell that is mounted to the gallery wall. Its clinically white, streamline form houses a theremin which detects and responds to the proximity of a viewer, emitting a range of bass frequency notes. Appearing to hold sophisticated powers of celestial communication or locomotion, the sculpture simply rests in a static observant position.
Docked in the center of the gallery space on three thin legs, Aerophone #2 features a leathery bagpipe-like cavity that appears to breathe. Inflating with air, the central body of the sculpture opens and closes cyclically by releasing hollow long notes, only to refill once more. Positioned as if it were part of a mysterious galactic research station, this sculpture is activated by viewers and resembles devices used in B-movie depictions of lunar landings and terrestrial exploration.
Björn Schülke designs objects that playfully transform live spatial energy into active responses in sculptural form. Featured last Fall in a prominent downtown Dallas window display, Schülke’s Solar Kinetic Objects were part of the Neiman Marcus 100th Anniversary art exhibition. Schülke’s work work has been exhibited at Museu Paulista, São Paulo; BEAP Biennale of Electronic Arts, Perth, Australia; bitforms gallery, New York and Seoul; Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, New Jersey; Art Cologne; ARCO, Madrid; Pulse, New York, Miami and London; Think 21, Brussels; Rauma Biennale, Balticum, Finland; Jeune Création, Paris; and the European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück, Germany.