(Born 1952 in Luxembourg. Lives and works in Luxembourg and Milan)
Bert Theis belongs to that generation of artists that emerged at the beginning of the 90's, that try to drop their operative strategies into public space, anchoring them to social contexts and relational modalities, without, however, removing them from the category of works of art which they are.
Their work lies at the intersection between the cultural environment and the vital world, and these artists always expect the idea of art to be understood as a symbolic service, behaviourally and psychologically, or as a model of social conduct.
Because of this, their frames of reference are always taken from the urban environment of the street and the neighbourhood, or from the temporary structures of popular activity: all of those signs strewn about the city - like platforms, unofficial altars, pavilions, benches, spontaneous memorials, kiosks, and architectural containers that see individuals in the position of active participants.
The works of Bert Theis are always conceived to be put directly into the outdoor spaces of a city, even though the Luxembourg artist has become famous for having participated in the most important international expositions, from the Venice Biennale, to Manifesta 2, to 'Skulptur. Projekte in Münster 1997', to the most recent Gwangju Biennale 2002 in South Korea. The assumption of a hyperactive society driven by excessive consumption informs the common background of Bert Theis' works. His works attempt to get people to turn inward, towards the intersticial spaces, places of rest and platforms for relaxation, capable of temporarily forming small communities of people with explicit reference to idyllic islands, to the utopia of unspoiled land, to the exotic, to the tropics.
In Bert Theis' work, the opening towards this vital life assumes a rigorous intellectual utopian condition, and at the same time, that which is more extraordinary than daily existence, and subtly, an irony in the experience. For the XLVI Venice Biennale he created Potemkin Lock, a temporary national pavilion for Luxembourg, situated between Belgium's and Holland's pavilions, in which the public could take a pleasant break on reclining chairs. In Münster, for the latest show of 'Skulptur. Projekte', he installed a wooden platform, painted white, behind the baroque castle. The work entitled Philosophical platform ideally recalls the stylobate or temple floor of Raphael's 'The School of Athens'. It has been used by the residents and the visitors in various ways: for birthday parties, university lectures, skating races, theatrical events, and jazz concerts.
In It's Hard Work to Be Idle (2002), the work is like a contemplative terrace, with palm trees and sand - a kind of architectural forepart placed above the entrance of the Gwangju Biennale. Finally, debunking a form of the tourist vacation, Bert Theis created the piece Dialectical Leap for Manifesta 2 in 1998, in which a shuttle bus deliberately filled with African percussionists, pineapples and fragrances, makes a thirty minute trip between the site of the exhibit in Luxembourg and the house in which Karl Marx was born, in Trier.
articoli pubblicati nel Network UnDo.Net: