Michael Sailstorfer:
It Might As Well Be Spring

Burton & Judy Onofrio Main Gallery

Michael Sailstorfer sees himself as a sculptor and he approaches the possibilities of sculpture in an experimental fashion.  In his artistic practice, elements and objects from everyday life serve as the starting point for idiosyncratic experiments.  With a targeted use of smell, sound, movement, and time, his work often surpasses our traditional understanding of sculpture: a popcorn machine that spills out popcorn nonstop, a bus stop on a rural road outfitted with a kitchen, and a bed that invites the passerby to stay a while.  Forests, landscapes, and trees are part of his vocabulary as are mechanical systems and machines that enter into, at times, contradictory relationships through Sailstorfer’s enigmatically humorous interventions.

For his exhibition at Rochester Art Center, Sailstorfer presents three major installations in the Burton and Judy Onofrio Main Gallery and singular sculptures in the adjacent Accent Gallery and Davies Printing A/V Room. Forst is a multilayered installation that is re-installed anew for Rochester Art Center as inspired by its initial presentation at the Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany, in 2010. Forst not only combines a mechanical system with an element from nature but also brings the forest into the exhibition space.  From a support system 16 feet above the floor of the Art Center, five trees hang upside down, rotating slowly on a motor. As the trees dry out over the course of the exhibition, they lose their leaves and branches.  The remains are constantly swept aside and into patterns by the remaining branches, becoming a parody of the concept of “foresting” or the cultivation of a forest for commercial purposes.

Sailstorfer also presents an entirely new sound sculpture installation.  As an enthusiast of percussion instruments, Sailstorfer has archived many recordings of drum solos, from classic jazz to heavy metal. For this installation, Sailstorfer has taken a recording of well-known drummer, Dave Lombardo, and isolated audio tracks that corresponds to each drum or cymbal on Lombardo’s notoriously large and complicated kit. Consequently, over 15 discrete audio tracks have been created, each of which are heard through an individual speaker. These speakers, placed throughout the gallery, simultaneously separate yet join these instrument recordings in an enveloping environment of sonic resonance.  Joining these works in the main gallery is the film Anti-Herbst.  Documenting an isolated tree in the German countryside over the fall months, a large team of technicians observed this tree as it lost its leaves over time. As each leaf fell, the crew proceeded to paint it green and replace it on the tree from the location where it was formerly attached. Consequently, Sailstorfer begins to challenge nature and the act of change by abstractly returning the tree to its springtime color and state of being.

Michael Sailstorfer was born in 1979 in Velden, Germany. He currently lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Kunste in Munich and earned a MA in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths College, London.  He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout the world including recent exhibitions B Seite, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin, Germany; Kofp un Körper, Museum Kurhaus Kleve – Ewald Mataré-Sammlung, Kleve, Germany, Every piece is a new problem, Contemporary Art Center, CAC, Cincinnati, OH, USA; Reibungsverlust am Arbeitsplatz, Grieder Contemporary, Zürich, Switzerland; Michael Sailstorfer, new works, Carbon12, Dubai, UAE; Freedom Fries am Arbeitsplatz, Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France; and Young West, Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Recklinghausen, Germany.


(K)NOW: Artist Lecture Series: Wednesday, October 15  |  6:30 pm
Free admission, complimentary light refreshments & cash bar.

Michael Sailstorfer will present a brief history of his work and artistic practice, followed by a conversation with Kris Douglas, Chief Curator, and an opportunity for questions from the audience.

Opening Reception: Friday, October 17  7 – 9 pm
Free admission, complimentary light refreshments & cash bar.

Exhibition Tours with Kris Douglas: Thursday, December 4, 12 noon  |  Thursday, February 12, 5:30 pm

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Michael Sailstorfer: It Might As Well Be Spring is supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual ArtsMichael Sailstorfer: Wolken and the Wells Fargo Atrium Series is made possible through funding by Wells Fargo. Additional support for the exhibition is provided by Rochester Community & Technical College, Kirk Magee, and Frank Webb.

Organized by Rochester Art Center and curated by Kris Douglas, Chief Curator

Image: Michael Sailstorfer, Forst, 2014, trees, electric motors, steel, dimensions variable, (detail of installation view). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Johann König, Berlin. Photo by Caylon Hackwith.