I wrote about Thomas Schutte almost a year ago. Today I revisit the great German sculptor on the occasion of his exhibition “Faces and Figures” in London’s Serpentine Gallery. When I started writing this article I had the intention of covering the whole exhibition, but as soon as I started, I relaized that I should focus only on the monumental duet of pairs of sculptures, the “United Enemies”.
As you approach the gallery which lies in Hype Park, by the Serpentine lake, you cannot fail to notice the two bronze couples of the the United Enemies.
Each pair of figures is tied together by rope.
The Enemies are so close and yet so far apart.
This profile reminded me of Bismarck and the Prussian State.
They do not look at each other. They appear austere and detached from ordinary life. As if born to be special.
They are wrapped in some sort of a heavy cloth, what came to my mind (as a metaphor) is felt, as used by Beuys.
Beuys, the great German artist, has influenced everyone. Schutte not only seems to be taking this in his stride, but in my eyes plays with artisticl legacy all over the place. In what follows, I offer my personal and totally arbitrary interpretative links.
August Rodin’s Balzac
Ernst Barlach’s “Der Mann im Stock”
Francis Bacon’s “Study after Velazquez’s Pope Innocent”
Georg Grosz’s “Pillars of Society”