Marking her Finnish debut, German artist Anna Fasshauer (b. 1975) will fill Galerie Forsblom with her eye-popping aluminum sculptures, which at first glance appear to be abstract, but soon begin to recall something familiar. Closer inspection reveals them to be gigantic straws that someone has absent-mindedly twisted and crushed into sculptural tangles. The combination of peppy colors and oversized replicas of everyday objects are highly reminiscent of Pop sculpture, notably the work of Claes Oldenburg (1929-2009). While thus being linked to the continuum of art history, the iconography of Fasshauer’s sculptures also speaks directly to the contemporary moment.
For as simple as it seems, a straw is anything but a neutral object. Plastic straws have come to symbolize marine pollution while representing a globally shared multilayered experience. We can all easily picture how it feels to crumple a plastic straw in our fingers, and we can just as easily retrieve memory traces of the anxious energy we experience as we fiddle with a straw. Fasshauer’s sculptures invoke a pervasive sense of unease through the most commonplace of objects. Her sculptures nevertheless retain an undercurrent of humor, their cold, stiff industrial material acquiring an endearing human quality. Fasshauer’s choice of material underscores the laden, thought-provoking contrast between her art’s theme and execution.
I want the sculptures to look like something that is made by fiddly, nervous fingers while the mind is concentrated on something else – for example, bending around the drinking straw while having a conversation. At the same time, I am very much into classical sculpture because each work stands on its own in its own right.
Anna Fasshauer graduated from the Chelsea School of Art and Design in London in 2001. She has exhibited her work in group and solo shows around the world, including venues such as the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, Kunstverein Offenburg and Kunstverein Arnsberg in Germany, and the Goethe Institute in Beirut. The artist is based in Berlin.