Danilo Dueñas

A door repeated and the wardrobe fell
September 15 − November 3, 2012

Alongside an exhibition showing works by the artist Stephen Willats, Galerie Thomas Schulte will present in its Corner Space on Friday, 14th of September 2012, the installation, A door repeated and the wardrobe fell, by Danilo Dueñas.

With the installation, A door repeated and the wardrobe fell, Galerie Thomas Schulte is pleased to present for the first time a work by Colombian artist Danilo Dueñas. Dueñas works with found materials, used or unused, that he usually comes upon by want or need, driven by an extreme belief in the world around us: a specific car tire, a particular wooden beam, a special piece of discarded furniture, plywood, a sheet of metal or a certain piece of Formica. The artist subjects them to a minimal or no treatment before assembling them to create apparently fragile, yet expansive constructions. For the duration of an exhibition, the everyday objects are transferred to the art context, and there filled with new life before they are returned to their original location.

In so doing, Dueñas always links his work to art history. The engagement with the Constructivists plays an important role here, as does his interest in Minimalist sculpture. In 2011, the artist layered pieces of white lacquered scrap aluminum on top of one another at Berlin’s daadgalerie. With the title, At Actium and a tribute to John McCracken, he was referring to a work by the American sculptor that he had seen at Berlin's Hamburger Bahnhof. While McCracken was concerned with the perfect, flawless design of reflecting surfaces, Dueñas foregrounds the traces of imperfection left upon objects, for despite his continuous engagement with formal issues, Dueñas is always looking for direct links to real life. By no means does he want to conceal the traces left on the objects in question, but instead expressly places importance on their singular quality like an impersonal or yet undefined history. In this way, he tries to avoid the severity and weight that he attributes to minimalism, regardless of his great respect for its achievements.

Dueñas sees the installation, A door repeated and a wardrobe fell, which the artist created especially for the corner space of Galerie Thomas Schulte, as paying homage to the “workers of life,” be they carpenters, painters, etc. The gallery space is divided into two by a wall spanning the entire 9-meter space, from floor to ceiling. This wall has four doors, but only the lowest can actually be used by the visitors to move from one room to the other. The upper doors are robbed of their actual function and in so doing become partitions in space.

The two sides of the room are formally and contextually contrary to one another. With the flawless, white lacquered front of the doors Dueñas refers to Minimalism as well as to the original function of the space as the display window of a department store. However, the other side shows a colorful and constructivist variation: a huge wooden cabinet seems fragilely balanced askew on the floor, surrounded by broken lamps, various materials, and a piece of butter. By rearranging the objects anew and placing them in a new relationship to one another, the artist refers to possibilities of aesthetic experience beyond their actual practical function. With his installations, Dueñas inspires us to rethink the things around us and our relationship to them, as well as their relations to one another.