Magazine article Art Monthly

Andres Lutz & Anders Guggisberg

Magazine article Art Monthly

Andres Lutz & Anders Guggisberg

Article excerpt

Andres Lutz & Anders Guggisberg

Ikon Gallery Birmingham May 28 to July 20

A sense of humour, a deep love of DIY and art history combine to inform and enrich the work of the Swiss duo, Andres Lutz & Anders Guggisberg, whose first UK show is entered, soberly, through a 'library'. This room, fitted with seats, standard lamps, tables and shelves, is suitably filled with carefully arranged quantities of books. But, like the furniture, the books are all made of wood, and their convincingly designed, retro-style jackets all bear absurd titles, such as How to Form An Egg, Christmas Dishes with Billie Holiday, and Yoga and Egoismus by Bloody Lonesome Thomson. Nearby, a large globe, fashioned out of wooden toys, walking sticks and African carvings, conjures a whole geography of found objects. On the walls, little oil paintings on wood panels reproduce idyllic landscape details from larger pieces by Bosch such as St Jerome Praying and The Adoration of the Magi.

The larger second gallery contains Impressions From the Interior, 2008, a series of 30 monochrome photo-litho prints, each highly detailed and in perfect focus. Subjects are celebrated for their unexpected potential to reveal human eccentricity, but very few actual humans are shown. Mountainous landscapes contain odd foreground groupings of birds, or stones that look animated. Musical instruments, secondhand bargains on display, animal skins, clocks, masks, bales of hay, crockery, dolls' houses and birds' nests form hopeful relationships. Jokes, especially puns, crop up, for instance in Big Hare, 2008, which shows a ridiculous, stuffed, long-eared comic creature, seated in a portable chair, with a basket of flowers, a garden gnome and a plaster duck. In Tired Hut, 2008, a cleverly observed, tilted view shows the sad wooden shelter leaning precariously in the middle of a vast sloping field of flowers.

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Looking down, a block-shaped central wall of the gallery is being 'pushed' round by tiny model figures, organised in groups, with certain plump individuals giving orders, while others put their backs into the hopeless task. The ever-toiling workers are called 'Tonies', after the 'ton', or clay, from which they are fashioned. Low down on another wall, there is even a clay electric socket.

Upstairs, there is an installation resembling one of Lutz & Guggisberg's landscape photographs, in three dimensions. Population, 2007, consists of 200 wooden birds, mostly between one foot and three feet high, all scorched black and made from what had once been wooden palettes. …

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