From his studio in London and the Engadin in Switzerland, Stefan Brüggemann traces the significance of light, gold and the gesture in a new body of work made during lockdown and presented at Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz.
Stefan Brüggemann’s work deploys text in conceptual installations, rich with acerbic social critique and a post-pop aesthetic. Gold leaf functions to this affect in his new works, drawing out spiritual and economic connotations. Light shifts across the indented letters on the surface of the works, which take on new significance and invite contemplation in the shadow play of our St. Moritz gallery space.
Presented as shortened modern poems, Brüggemann’s new series offers a caustic perspective on modernity and the digital age—the staccato rhythms of these sloganistic lines mirroring the relentlessness of newsfeed culture. The gold works intend to cut through the noise of the present moment, and their reflective surfaces, with varied textures and mesmeric rhythms, invite contemplation. In ‘Online Disconnected (Hyper-Poem Lockdown)’ (2020) Brüggemann’s choice of words force us to reflect on our online existence of scrolling and constant consumption, jolting us out of our collective reverie. Many of the texts chosen for these works are cryptic excerpts from the static of digital life, which has been heightened since the global lockdown.
‘I wanted the work to be about contemplation more than information.'
Working with gold leaf as the main medium in the works, Brüggemann speaks of how gold fluctuates between being an economic power and a spiritual power. These fluctuations during this time of uncertainty, question its real value. In St. Moritz, Brüggemann has gilded the architectural void in the middle of the gallery space to create a link between the two floors. The gilded walls are textured through the layering of vinyl text underneath, creating a relief-like effect but ultimately obscuring their messages. As the viewer moves under the space, light dances and plays over the gold leaf and the gallery space. In this way the work demands time and space for reflection, a moment of calm in which speculation gives way to observation.
– Join Stefan Brüggemann in conversation with Randy Kennedy live on Zoom, Wednesday 22 July 2020. ‘Stefan Brüggemann UNTITLED ACTION (GOLD PAINTINGS)’, is on view at Hauser & Wirth St. Moritz, 11 July - 30 August 2020.