23/06/2021 – 08/08/2021,

Epilog: Pablo Schlumberger, Horror Vacui

, Projektraum von Westfälischem Kunstverein und LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur


Pablo Schlumberger, Horror Vacui. Installation view Projektraum of LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur and Westfälischer Kunstverein 2021


Epilog marks the last chapter of a year in the now beloved ’’Hütte.’’ Describing a moment of reflection, of pausing and looking back, as well as of departure, Epilog is itself a sequence of diverse chapters. As a series of four solo exhibitions, it offers a glimpse into the approach of each artist, their working practices, visual and material worlds. With new works ranging from sculpture to installation to painting, from research-based processes to explorations of narratives and popular culture, the four Residence NRW⁺ grant holders – Jasmin Werner, Sarah Buckner, Sami Schlichting and Pablo Schlumberger – negotiate the particularities of the Projektraum of LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur and Westfälischer Kunstverein as a means of reflecting on the material and discursive frameworks of their own practice. What conditions underlie it, what conditions does it presuppose? Incorporating the specific spatiality and window frontage of the exhibition space, this series of solos also engages with the idea of what it means for their work to be on display under current circumstances. Each chapter is accompanied by an event conceived as a response to or continuation of the practice of the artist in question.

A net is a useful metaphor to enter into Pablo Schlumberger’s practice–sometimes tight, sometimes wider, diverse, but always permeable. The stories and symbols he develops never quite add up to a unified structure. They have a tendency to escape and be found again some knots later. Horror Vacui explores places of drinking [that bar downstairs or your aunt’s Partykeller] as images and structures in which a very specific cultural Zeitgeist seems to be preserved. The possibility of obsolescence is rarely envisioned here but rather built upon. When there’s nothing left to do but to drink all alone, what remains? Playing with footnotes and doubling, the installation develops two concepts which are important in the artist’s practice: the seemingly insignificant and its value. The objects you’ll find here are “second hand”, ”vintage”, “DIY” or just out-of-date, allowing you to more or less discreetly, get that drink you’ve been craving.

Schlumberger’s installations are usually developed as a maze within an ostensibly fluid concept: water [or here: alcohol]. Within it, corridors are slightly shifted and signs always are at risk of drifting away, slipping and turning their backs on us. Objects and images, as containers or content, sometimes just fail. Fluctuating between their symbolism within the picture and larger contexts of meaning, they reveal cracks within the semantics of both high and pop culture. [what should we be thinking about a telephone swimming in a glass of wine? Or a found wax bas-relief that inspired this series of paintings? It is just catching dust, waiting to melt when the bar’s doors open onto the afternoon sun.]

Things rarely stand for themselves in this exhibition. Or to put it another way: you’ll find objects that act as echoes or repositories. You might even find some objects referred to because they don’t really matter. Er schon wieder (II –calling forth the motif repertoire of Carl Spitzweg and extravagant yet familiar mid-century interiors–hints at the cultural patchwork of post-war Germany. Images we have digested so many times they lost their substance [such as the tipsy monk] are thus endlessly reproduced as an anecdotal decor. Yet the exhibition is entirely about what is sitting next to it, and turns out to be very serious.

Take the mini-bar. A decadent device hidden in a mundane object. Drinking as a moment where sense is lost while habits remain as culture. A crystalized figure of insignificance. A moment of dou-bling of the sight that is not supposed to create meaning or value. A gadget demanding mastery of your aloneness. An elitist experience for the ones who know what lies behind the clock.

[That’s the thing with Pablo, everything is there but he’s never going to willingly provide the full story. Like the one with the guy who’s house started to burn, but the fire extinguisher turned out to be a minibar. He had a drink instead, looking in horror at the void that was slowly replacing his home.]

Text: Julie Robiolle

Pablo Schlumberger (born 1990 in Aachen, Germany) lives and works in Cologne. Crossing the fields of sculpture, painting, installation and media art, he draws from the fundus of various (art-) historical epochs, as well as high and pop culture. In his work Schlumberger humorously deals with the question of representation and perception. In this sense everyday objects combining tradition and modernity function as recurring motifs that lost their specificities – such as architecture, coins and fountains. They seemingly take on a life of their own or serve as blind spots for the still unseen. By behaving as Solid Liquids, like two sides of a coin, they pinpoint the increasingly toxic simplification of cultural compositions in our everyday environment. Recent solo exhibitions include Kennen Sie Köln? Ne, meine Braut ist die See. (Drawing Room, Hamburg, 2021), and Merry May, (Genscher Gallery, Hamburg, 2019). He was selected for the one-year National Young Artist Fellowship of the Kunstverein Hannover, which he will take up in 2022. In 2020, he participated in the exhibition of the Hamburg Arbeitsstipendium recipients at Sammlung Falckenberg, which he received the year prior. He took part in group exhibitions such as Realismus mit Schleife (Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg, 2019), The Finest Bubble (YELLOW artspace, Varese, Italy, 2019), Further thoughts on earthy materials (Kunsthaus Hamburg, 2019) as well as _the dead are losing _ (Klosterruine Berlin, 2018).

A joint project with:

The exhibition is supported by:

Accompanying Programme:

25/06/2021, 4:30 pm,

Tutto Domani

, Projektraum von Westfälischem Kunstverein und LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur