Thorsten Brinkmann

In his work, the German artist Thorsten Brinkmann moves with fantasy between painting, photography, sculpture, ready-mades, collage and performance. In Hamburg, where he lives, he has a large industrial space that is completely filled with found objects.

Photography Thorsten Brinkmann. Courtesy Gallery Feldbuschwiesner

Anything one might come across in a flea market can be found in the Thorsten Brinkmann collection: abandoned wardrobes, lampshades, coffee tables, clothing and much more. Brinkmann takes liberal advantage of this collection for use in installations, sculptures, videos and photographs. In a subtle, seemingly superficial and nonchalant way, he thereby refers to how we relate to objects in our society.

In photographic self-portraits, a costumed and masked Thorsten Brinkmann repeatedly appears in different forms. In one, he might be pulling second-hand clothing over his head. In another, he hides his face in a lampshade or a flowerpot. With the help of the objects in his collection, Brinkmann sculpts his own body into new representations of itself. With these photographed sculptures, he gives new substance to traditional ideas of painting and sculpture.

Thorsten Brinkmann likes to make references to the history of art. His photographic self-portraits consequently remind one of, for example, staged scenes by Cindy Sherman, and his use of discarded objects in installations is reminiscent of the work of the New Realists, such as Arman and Jean Tingueley. In each new work, Thorsten Brinkmann seems to be posing the same question: how do we today deal with yesterday, with the past, and how can given genres be redefined? His oeuvre can be seen as an adventurous journey of discovery into the cohesion and interrelationships between genres, objects and periods of time.

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