Peter Wächtler


Initially the project was about making sculptural still-lives kept in a precious balance by a freely shaped structure of bend steel that is far more expressive than the objects it supports. I then sculpted a bowl of peanuts and cashew. Looking at this early result made me stop the project for three weeks in which I caught Covid and realised that, seen from the street, I am emotionally much more attached to the left side of the gallery. I am aware that this is not of importance for this project or any other project or for any of you. Sentimentality blocks things and destroys newness but at the same time precious things forever within you, without which you would not want to go on. Back in the studio I put towels on top of the objects around. A battery pack, a candleholder that Michael Van den Abeele gave me once as a present, a big pack of Haribo, an ugly jug. It felt good to concentrate on this minimal set-up. Sculpting the Frottee felt as if I was applying to my own art school. For a Fantasy guy like me that is hard-to admit stuff. Studio, still life, real objects, fumbling without skill, private life, sickness, too. Like when they write in the Vogue Shoes: Private. The next impulse is to disclaim that this of course is not about the Vogue, and of course I would never ever compare myself to a model. This impulse of being humble all the god-damned time and the sentimentality about the left side of the gallery are very good friends.

After bringing the ceramics to Pankow to fire them, I started working on four sculptures of actors bowing down after their performance in front of an audience who throws flowers at them in delight. It is a gesture fixed and repeated in a series of two actresses and two actors, a post-performative moment of feedback, the actors still half in Character let’s say Agamemnon and Antigone, and half-backstage. I always admired the actor’s confidence to come back front stage several times. For this returning for more applause, personally I would not know when to stop and make my bow among the colleagues. The fear of exposure to make my bow to an audience which is already getting its coats also lives very close to the need to be humble all the god-damned time and the emotional attachment to the left side of the gallery. Next impulse is to write: One day I will get rid of those three... But here comes the Fantasy guy again, the resentment against your own neurosis, the hope for change and revenge. Fantasy in terms of Terminator, a person without any other persons, dropping down from the future, landing naked on wet asphalt to do projects.

There was a brief period, when I wanted to sculpt the actors as nudes. But I had to give up on it. It was too much for me. Working with plaster in general is bad enough, it is a horrible material. Also, although we managed to build one of the expressive structures that did keep the ceramic towels in a precarious balance I decided to use those that are in the show now. Their crampy way of life goes well with the main actors who bend for forgiveness and more applause in a post-performative period of suffocating realness.

Text by Peter Wächtler
Thank you to Andreas Wegner and Carl-Oskar Jonsson