Where: Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce
When: March 21 – May 11, 2014
Opening: Friday March 21, 6.00 pm
Villa Croce presents Thomas Grünfeld’s (Opladen, 1956) first personal exhibition in an Italian museum. Rooms inhabited by strange creatures, old-fashioned domestic interiors adorned with a somewhat stale touch of modernism: this is the disconcerting universe created by Thomas Grünfeld for his first museum retrospective in Italy. The exhibition showcases the artist’s extraordinarily variegated production, illustrating different stages of his work: from painting to sculpture, from photography to collage, from interior design to installations. The exhibition displays the artist’s first passe-partout pieces, as well as wall pieces, interior design, sculptures made of synthetic materials, embalmed animals, paintings made with felt and photographs; works that, regardless their formal and material variety, all seem to fit Freud’s definition of uncanny: “the class of frightening things that leads us back to what is known and familiar”. Grünfeld ironically explores the domestic home and the typical bourgeois taste for interior decoration. He puts together unusual combinations of elements: natural and artificial, functional and absurd; he creates strange links between hard and soft, visual and tactile. Sophisticated crossbreeding processes are used as a way of upturning conventional schemes, thus highlighting the fine, permeable line between art and life. The contamination of forms creates a surreal microcosm in which seemingly ordinary elements reveal a transitory and unstable identity that can not be catalogued under traditional categories. With a slow yet constant erosion of appearances, Grünfeld manages to dislocate the dichotomy between true and false, searching for, as he himself explains, “a pure, instinc- tive, almost childish reaction; my work always produces a yes-no-yes-no reaction, mixing together attraction and repul- sion. I try to stretch this irritating, unpleasant feeling for as long as possible, so it doesn’t go lost”. The exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Morsbroich Museum (Leverkusen, Germany), is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue published by Verlagshaus Kettler. The catalogue features an interview with Thomas Grünfeld, a short story written expressly for the occasion by A.M. Homes and texts by Bettina Haiss (256 pages, 240 images, texts in both English and German).