Thomas Schütte

(b. 1954, Oldenburg, lives and works in Düsseldorf)

“Fundamentally, my works are almost always in the nature of a proposal, and first exist in the form of models, and are constructed—or not—after that.” Thomas Schütte (1987)

Schütte is internationally recognized as a sculptor, but he was originally educated in “advance pictorial modes and radical critiques of painting’s identity and autonomy” at the infamous Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. The conceptual playfulness that underpins his early work, later darkened to offer a deeply baleful tone, as his preoccupations about the gravity of the human condition in general, as well as the cultural, social and political elements of everyday life increasingly informed his work. Schütte has addressed both recent German history and current world matters with a protean engagement employing different sculptural modes, styles, forms, materials and techniques throughout his career.

Athener Tagebuch [Athens Diary], 1984, is a suite of 144 drawings that Schütte executed while spending several weeks in Greece in 1984 for a gallery exhibition. While it takes the form of a visual diary, the work avoids a biographical revelation. Rapid sketches, lists, proposals, plans, observations, and notations for the upcoming exhibition and for future works, including civic sculpture, coexist alongside homages to artist friends and mentors and to the modest pleasures of daily existence. Many of these works are based on watercolors, which he himself regards as a kind of “gymnastic warm-up.”