Tobias Rehberger: Chimes. Until I hear it...
Detail of the exhibition "Tobias Rehberger"
01.05.2002 – 11.08.2002

The Museum of Contemporary Art is mounting the first solo exhibition of Tobias Rehberger (born 1966 in Esslingen, Germany). In what amounts to a general survey of Rehberger's oeuvre, more than fifty works and ensembles by the Frankfurt-based artist will be distributed over the museum's two light courts, whighlights including a vast light installation arching over the entire first courtyard of the museum. As well as many pieces created specially for showing in Karlsruhe, the exhibition features video works, installations, mural paintings and the series of »famous« cars begun in 1999 and produced by craftsmen in Thailand on the basis of sketches the artist draws from memory.

Often playing with 1960s and '70s design styles, Rehberger's environments, furniture, sculptures and ceiling installations have made him a focus of interest for art criticism stressing contextual approaches and cross-over aspirations. Rehberger operates within these fields of critical definition without considering them to be particularly meaningful for his work. At the point where design not only produces the »utility« of commodity articles but also supplements usefulness with an immaterial surplus value, Tobias Rehberger concentrates on transferring to the field of art these questions of functionality and added value. In doing so, he deftly puts out of action the entire policy underlying art-critical interpretations

By giving the visitors the possibility to co-determine the furnishing and design of the exhibition space, by translating the proposals or specifications submitted by friends and acquaintances into artistic environments, furniture or portraits that then bear the signature of both the proposer and the artist, and by making the function of his installations and objects dependent on the willingness of others to use them, Rehberger always discusses one basic question: What is actually a work of art, and how much of it is conditioned by notions, perceptions and external influences?
In this way, the artist shows possibilities, and at the same time makes proposals that depend on the viewer's notions and expectations in order to become »legible« in the first place. Thus, everything could be done differently, if one only knew how. To this extent, the typical fashion phenomena of »ambient music« and »ambient space« are, in Rehberger's work, only apparently conditions of an »ambient art« that shows how easily one can, with commitments to only one option, move away from the centre ground of a clear statement or never come close to that centre to begin with. On show in Karlsruhe will also be the complete series Fragments of their Pleasant Spaces, in which Tobias Rehberger has been following precisely this approach since 1996. Each work in the series consists in an ensemble of items of furniture and of objects.

Exhibitions team

Rainer Gabler (technical participation)
Christof Hierholzer (technical participation)
Marianne Meister (registrar)

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Museum für Neue Kunst

Sammlung Grässlin, St. Georgen ; Sammlung Boros ; Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst ; Collection FRAC Haute-Normandie ; Pierre Nouvion ; Collezione Prada ; Collection ioannis Christoforakod, Athen ; Galerie Neugerriemschneider, Berlin ; Juan-Agosto Vergez, Buenos Aires ; Eric Decelle, BRüssel ; Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt am Main ; Collection Charles Asprey, london ; Galleria Giò Marconi, Mailand ; Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York ; Collection Marcel Brient, Paris ; Sammlung Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart