Karin Brunnermeier || Booth B24
Preview Berlin ||30 October – 2 November 2008
The sculptures, installations and drawings of Karin Brunnermeier could be seen as a series of intricate portraits. Brunnermeier’s characters and the stories that she creates around them, are based on the real and imagined and are central to the understanding of her work. Sometimes darkly humourous, melancholic, surreal or symbolic, her interest is in the human psyche and moments of ‘fracture’, where injuries, both physical and emotional occur. Essentially a storyteller, the materials that Brunnermeier uses in her sculptures inform the narratives which she constructs. Materials are chosen for their symbolic potential as well as aesthetic form. In her 2004 work Sledge, she cast a sledge in glass to tell a story of immobility, whilst recent works have combined hoops constructed from steel with children’s clothing once worn by Brunnermeier and her brother, connecting her own history with that of the invented and imagined. The dichotomous nature of the clown, with its ability to convey humour and pathos, has become a recent focus in her work. In the first of her ring clown sculptures Hansi-Nummer (2007) the character Hansi has come to a sorry end after being squashed by a giant steel turquoise hoop. The soft bodied clown, made from fabric and children’s clothes and dwarfed by the scale of the enormous hoop, is a pitiful figure – did he try to balance the hoop on his head in an attempt to impress the crowd or has Hansi sacrificed himself for the sake of a punch line? Another character finds himself in equally dire straits in the sculpture Charlie (Ring Clown) (2007). A hoop is threaded through the neckline of his jumper, his arms replaced by the hoop itself, holding him in an inescapable situation. The implied motion that comes with these works – perhaps Hansi will peel himself off the floor and dust himself down, or Charlie will desperately rock from side to side in an attempt to escape – add to the slapstick but also to the desperateness of their situation. Brunnermeier is a sharp observer of human frailties, and when we laugh at her character’s situations, it is tempered by a sense of self recognition. Her works hold up a mirror to ourselves and the knocks in life that we all experience.
Jacqui McIntosh, 2008