LARMgalleri is delighted to announce its first solo exhibition with Hartmut Stockter From an Affable Blackberry Picker’s Treasure Chest.
“Animals, vegetables and minerals have cropped up in the art world. The artist is attracted by their physical, chemical and biological possibilities. He is renewing his acquaintance with the process of change in nature, not only as a living being, but as a producer of magical, wonderful things, too.” Cermano Celant Arte Povera (1969)
The exhibition “From an Affable Blackberry Picker’s Treasure Chest” at LARMgalleri is a Wunderkammer of Hartmut Stockter’s bizarre but beautiful objects and inventions paired with sketches and drawings. Stockter’s aesthetic is highly idiosyncratic, as is his passionate way of incorporating nature, science and everyday materials into his art projects. This can be seen in his recent large-scale project Earthworm Ambulance that is prominently featured in the show. The Ambulance, which is fully operative, was originally created following reports on the global deterioration of soil quality. As Stockter states: “The Earthworm Ambulance roams through the cityscape, collecting earthworms that are unable to find their way back into the soil. The ambulance searches for an adequate new habitat for disoriented worms”. With the Ambulance and most other pieces, he links nature and culture through juxtaposition of mundane manufactured materials (asphalt, glass, tubes, iron) with organic materials or elements (plants, earth, beeswax, wood). These then provide a new alphabet for a non-mediated language of real experience, neither figurative nor abstract. There is a certain air of poetic eloquence in all his art objects. Stockter’s extensive work-in-progress titled The Daytripper’s Lexicon documents ‘the daytripper’ and the daytripper’s aids when out walking and studying nature and its creatures. Mostly these works materialize as oddly looking inventions or humorous apparatuses built with a specific, sometimes absurd, purpose in mind, such as his Landscape Pursuit and Landscape Multipurpose Tool. With these and other pieces Stockter affirm the vital importance of daytrips and subjectivity in the process of experiencing the world that ushers in an art that is clearly about the body and its experience; Stockter’s focus is on real life and not artificial representation. He sees art as communication, process and pleasure and a layering of cultural and contextual references.
Undoubtedly, Stockter shares certain principles of believe with the Arte Povera movement: that a work of art should be an ‘attitude’ become form through disparate materials, that art is related to a quest for authenticity and may be realized in any material, medium and location; that art should engage with certain broad social and scientific concerns stemming from anti-consumer society positions based on the individual. In this vein, Stockter’s public out-door projects Grand Panorama Periscope and Widow’s Walk articulate technologically harmonious and ecologically responsible forms of art that invite the audience to actively engage with both the art and the surrounding landscape. Stockter indeed is preoccupied with creating various forms of physical interaction between his works of art and the viewers. His pieces such as The Meadow Path Human Wheel, Worm’s Eye View Periscope, and Oxygen Greenhouse make the audience aware of the world we live in and remind us of the importance of engaging with nature in more ecologically minded forms of agency. In Stockter’s work these forms include contingent encounters between humans, animals, plants and science. His imaginative creations also connote a darker side; a subtle indication of dystopia or decline of nature as we know it. His approach, however, is always playful, curious and imaginative, thus embracing a kind of anti-interventionist sustainable agenda. His creations bear witness of great sensitivity and meticulous craftsmanship that can be seen in such works as Spiders, Mushroom Roulette and Honey Tick. His passionate convictions have resulted in a prolific output of inventions made principally for their ideal design rather than utility. His apparatuses exist as sculptures, designed to expand the realm of artistic understanding. As the exhibition clearly shows, Hartmut Stockter does not see art and life as oppositional.
Hartmut Stockter (1973) was born in Wilhelmshaven (DE), lives and works in Copenhagen (DK). He graduated from Hochschule für bildende Künste Braunschweig 1998.