Florian Slotawa. (Reviews)

By Smolik, Noemi | Artforum International, September 2002 | Go to article overview

Florian Slotawa. (Reviews)


Smolik, Noemi, Artforum International


STADTISCHE KUNSTHALLE

It all started when Florian Slotawa, then an art student at Hamburg's Kunsthochschule, decided he didn't want to create, install, or produce any more artworks. Plagued with doubts about his art studies, he began taking photographs of the objects in his flat: furniture, dishes, clothing, silverware, even the bottle opener. Adding information about the object's acquisition--then later about its resale--its condition and importance, he drew up a book resembling a catalogue raisonne. Finally, he installed his worldly possessions in a room at the Kunsthochschule for several weeks.

Next he moved back to his old Heimat--Slotawa makes a point of referring to his hometown using this loaded and barely translatable word--of Munich, where he reinstalled his objects in a new apartment. Invited to exhibit in Dusseldorf, he took his belongings--his refrigerator, washing machine, mattress, bookshelves, books, and blankets--with him once again and used them to construct Heimat relief (Homeland relief), 1996, an installation that referred to the mountainous landscape of his childhood. In 1999, in Kassel, he piled his things into towers that he named Mama, because their height was the same as that of his mother. The reference was as banal as the objects, but isn't the break with one's origins, which could also be called Heimat and which are always somehow embodied by the mother, the first step into a liberating emptiness that can then be filled with new possibilities?

But Slotawa fled the emptiness of his apartment for hotel rooms across Europe. He checked in at cheap motels in cities like Prague, Grenoble, Trieste, and Leipzig for one night at a time. Once in his room, he built himself a kind of cave out of the furniture found there--bed, wardrobe, table, chairs--which he then photographed and slept in. Before breakfast he quietly put everything back in its place. Only the photograph remained as testimony to the event. …

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