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Ulrich Vogl - My Old Norwegian

Opening Thursday 14. September at 19:00



Van Etten is delighted to present the solo exhibition My Old Norwegian by visual artist Ulrich Vogl. Vogl works mainly with installation and sculpture. In his practice, he delicately manoeuvres materials and concepts. His visual language, never arbitrary or excessive, gently guides both the eye and the mind in surprising directions, while also leaving space for the spectator to venture into their own interpretative horizons. 


Ulrich Vogl is interested in everyday objects: their ambient effects, their life stories, and their status in contemporary culture. We surround ourselves with things, perhaps more than ever. In our material culture, we are accustomed to ascribing meaning to objects. Their aesthetic appeal is determined by a time and a place that influence our cognitive responses to them. Through Vogl’s creative acts, recognisable shapes appear in new, sometimes odd, constellations. Home is a 24 kg. stone, collected from the riverbed of the artist’s hometown near the German Alps. In the exhibition space, it is cocooned in the warmth of a knitted facade, resembling a typical Berlin 19th century building. 


Vogl’s approach to the artwork is also steered by playful experimentation and humour. By removing or adding essential elements, the object is released of its supposed stable and inherent meaning. The piece Opa (German: grandfather) is the head of a deer, a hunting trophy robbed of its antlers. In place of its eyes and ears are brightly coloured skeins of yarn; multi-hued fur is applied by felt pen, like children put make-up on their dolls.


The exhibition illustrates how our views of the world are determined by the perspective that we carry with us. As a familiar instrument of visualisation, the moveable window as form and allegory has accompanied Vogl throughout his artistic career. Window to Go - My Old Norwegian was created by unravelling the artist’s favourite woollen jumper, crocheting a window using the reclaimed thread. As a revitalised object, the moveable window offers a glimpse into a landscape of ever-changing perspectives and fleeting moments.


Vogl’s sculptural objects exude an aura of ambiguity that lingers in the small exhibition space at Van Etten. Spilt Milk is positioned as an interior centrepiece on which a natural scenery of both height and depth unfolds. As we gather around the table, it offers a place from which we can share our views in the form of social interaction and conversation. Some things are said, while others remain unspoken.


How do we experience the past? How do we attribute meaning to things? Which perspectives do we apply to the objects that surround us, or the views that we share? Moving around in the material universe presented by Vogl exposes us to constantly changing positions - between the familiar and strange, the meaningful and the absurd. Vogl’s works spark ambiguity and openness, fostering a sensation that the world is not about conclusion.  


Parallel to his exhibition at Van Etten, Vogl’s monumental total installation The Newsroom is showing at Trafo Kunsthall between 16 September and 08 October. The aim of this collaboration is to give a comprehensive and  extensive presentation of Vogl’s fascinating works and his complex artistic practice to the Norwegian audience.  

Ulrich Vogl (*1973 in Kaufbeuren) lives and works in Berlin. He studied fine arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York, the Berlin University of the Arts UdK and the Academy of Arts in Munich. His work has been shown worldwide and in over 30 solo exhibitions throughout Europe. He has received numerous scholarships and awards and his work can be found in private and public collections in Germany, Italy, Poland, Greece, Ireland and Spain. His public sculptures “The Kissing Stone - one kiss one wish” in the heart of the Treptower Park in Berlin and “Käscher / Scoop” in Stein am Rhein in Switzerland have been given to the public this summer.

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