Roland Faesser’s colourful menagerie has taken over the mitart Gallery. This invasion is hardly hostile as the artist has named his exibition “Friendly Outgrowth”.
The story of the race between the hare and the hedgehog is somewhat similar. Just as Faesser’s hunting trophies in the “Friendly Outgrowth” exhibition have reminded one of Jeff Koons, the American master of handcrafted kitsch, one reads the title “Ceci n’est pas un Koons”. Yet this metallic blue varnished deer head, with an inflated plastic monkey growing from its antlers, really is a Faesser original. Nine of these “trophies” are displayed on the walls of the mitart Gallery. Sylvia von Niederhaeusern, the owner of the gallery, reports that eventually there will be more and that a well-known racing driver is interested in Faesser’s objects. The concept that a piece of art can be a trophy, must be quite familiar to a sportsman.
This is not the first time that Roland Faesser, born in Lima, has worked with such hunting trophies. Back in 2005, he covered antilope heads with tartan cloth and displayed them on a wall in rows like ancestral portraits. The wilderness had finally established itself in interior decoration. The new series, beginning in 2006 with the work “Fishing Clouds”, the only prepared animal skin with a strip of cloud caught in its antlers, is more colourful. Faesser put a red patent mask over one of the plastic heads which is laced down the back of its neck. This red deer carries numerous naked Barbie dolls attached to its antlers with black cable straps. A SM variation? Yet again, we are reminded of the title “Not in the Wildest Dreams”.
PLAY INSTINCT. Fantasies are merely in the mind of the beholder. Faesser’s intentions are only playful. For instance, he assembles three giant poodles into a black and white composition or glues as many soft toys as possible together to form a compact block. Perhaps Faesser seeks refuge in art from the necessities of the field of architecture which he studied in Zurich and Winterthur, or he has developed a personal variation of Latin-American magical realism. Maybe he just wants us to see every day life in a different light. As in one of his construction art projects in a kindergarten in Frankfurt, a line of tiny lizards bite into each other’s tails along the top of a wall. If this procession had not been installed, barbed wire would be there instead.
Sylvia von Niederhaeusern has been running her gallery for almost a year in a former bakery in the Reichensteinstrasse. Small play objects can be seen in the display window, a knitted teddy bear in a red ski boot and a comical tortoise on a stake. Any kind of toy inspires Roland Faesser. For example, he interprets the term domestic animal literally and lets the head and hind legs of a poodle, or rows of monkey heads, emerge from an elongated house-shaped block. Thus the imagination runs wild in many friendly and comical ways.
The nature and development of aquatic animals – an exihibition
In the animal world, there are creatures who swim and those who do not. Then, there are others who swim only after they have been inflated. (There is also the bullfrog – he inflates himself.) The creatures belonging to the third category are displayed immobile, flattened, and inconspicuously on the shelves of larger and smaller department stores or at seaside kiosks, until someone comes by and breathes life into them. Once inflated to full size, one can sit astride them or hang on to their curvy bodies and throw oneself into the ocean waves or drift along on the pale blue stream of the Ungerer – wonderful!
From a hygienic point of view, inflatable animals are highly recommended companions. They do not make a mess, do not bite, smell only slightly of rubber, and never make a noise, except maybe when they are on their last legs. A continuous “hiss” might then be heard. Even when you stub out a cigarette on them, they still make no noise.
Those people who have crossed the Atlantic, sometimes criticize these creatures’ poor durability. The body usually gets a puncture somewhere sooner or later and then slowly collapses. For some who have wanted to travel from Africa to the Caribbean on the back of a rubber crocodile, a sea urchin on the beach has led to disaster before the journey had even begun. (The author once had the idea of being the first person to sail from Marseille to Algiers with an inflatable, black gorilla. However, during the preparation, little Marie took the animal for a walk and passed too closely by a rose bush. That was the end of that).
Swiss artist Roland Faesser could not stop thinking about the brief existance of inflatable animals. He inflated several of them to full size and then, so to speak, mummified them. Faesser’s “series of household pets” can be seen until the 6th. August in the Brochier Gallery, Klenzestrasse 32. Here, we were informed that he wrapped the creatures in material soaked in plaster and then made a cast in a sort of cellulose mixture. (Please excuse this amateurish description!) He then smoothed the surface to such perfection that, at first glance, one would think one was looking at the original if only Faesser had not defamiliarized the creature’s shape during this working process. His interpretation of the expression “household pets” is that every animal, whether crocodile or swan, carries one or several houses either on its back or as tumorous projections from its body, or as with the sculpture “Hausvorstand”, the creatures themselves stream out of the houses.
Can one do this? One might ask what has happened to the original animal in the meantime! Is it really still in there? Is the artist telling the truth? Is the crocodile, swan or fish inside Faesser’s objects still alive? Is it still inflated and just carrying its hard outer shell? Maybe the creature is bracing itself against the shell, trying to burst it from the inside? Like a suit of armour, does the shell serve as protection against the “prickly” situations in life? Or, did the animal wither away at some point in time, dead, so that the empty shell is just a memory of a creature who lived long ago? Its monument?
To put it in a nutshell, has this to do with the immortalization of a living or of a deceased creature?
It is worth mentioning that during the conversation with the owner of the gallery, he drew our attention to the fact that the smooth surface of the sculptures is characteristic of our times. We would like to add that, because these animals are inflated and made to be so durable, we think these pieces of art are very suited to this summer, infact to the nineties in general and to the city of Munich. To quote the owner of the gallery again: “I think they’re absolutely relevant”. That is putting it mildly.