No Pose, No Hope
He always has an overall idea in mind but on his trips to flea markets and second-hand shops, Thorsten Brinkmann (b. Herne, Germany, 1971, lives and works in Hamburg) is never looking for specific objects. Such an approach prevents you from noticing the surprises you might come across, and it would also make the work process considerably less appealing. Brinkmann finds the joy of his artistic practice in discovering and then playing with his finds, which all show signs of use and carry stories within themselves.
This in no way means that his playful sculptures, portraits and installations are not created with the utmost care. Brinkmann begins by ‘dressing up’, for example, by putting a pedal bin over his head. Then he reacts to what he sees, making adjustments until he is satisfied with the metamorphosis. He bases the compositions, poses and lighting of his self-portraits, featuring both male and female characters, on those of iconic paintings, which also makes them resemble painted works. These are subsequently incorporated into installations, photographs and videos, along with items of clothing belonging to the artist and casts of his body parts. The artist’s face always remains hidden, however. It is not the artist himself but the art that should be the focal point, and Brinkmann wants to keep possible interpretations as open as he can. In this way, he humorously makes his viewers reflect upon their relationship with the objects that surround them and help to determine their identity.
Although Brinkmann always depicts his characters himself and never presents them live to an audience, but only in front of a camera, the artist, for the first time, performed a number of his stereotypical characters live for Brief Encounters. The characters, a king, Venus, a bird, a horse rider and a guard, stood majestically on white pedestals, making minimal movements. Although based on iconic paintings, which always emphasise the fortitude, strength and beauty of the person who is portrayed, Brinkmann’s characters, in all their surrealistic forms, are clumsy, fragile and tragicomic. They are flawed heroes, who reflect our day-to-day worries and our mortality.
costumes & props