Handle with care
Stefan Strumbel’s Handle with care is the artist’s first solo show at Ruttkowski;68. Following on the heels of his exhibition at the Osthaus Museum Hagen, Handle with care presents a selection of the artist’s most recent work.
In his aluminum and bronze objects, Strumbel eschews the effects of attractive colors. Instead, he brings what lies beneath them to the fore by reducing the iconographic elements and dispensing with peripheral details. As a common and easily recognizable product, bubblewrap plays a central role for the artist since anyone who wants to protect something valuable usually packs it carefully. By casting the material in aluminum and bronze, bubblewrap becomes something timeless and valuable. Here, the material’s durability is a formal counterpart to what Kant once described as the “invisible within the visible”: that which is worth protecting—spaces, bodies, ideas, feelings, or thoughts—becomes increasingly vulnerable as the result of social revolutions and crises.
In his large-format abstract paintings, minimally marked by the impressions of bubble wrap, Strumbel demonstrates that nothing is static, that everything is always in motion and in flux, that fate cannot be brought to a standstill. His pouring technique gives the color a form, it is the form. And just as this color form emerges on the canvas, so a tone, a word or a sentence sounds.