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ALEXEJ MESCHTSCHANOW
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"Biedermeierstandards"

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The Leipzig artist, Alexej Meschtschanow, has achieved a unique form of representation with the objects in his Biedermeier series. He literally makes an exhibition of them and also makes an issue of their exhibition – as an ambivalent act of presentation and emancipation (freeing the objects from their original context). The shift in the status of the objects from bourgeois furniture to artistic artifacts is subject to the definitions of art alone, since the works are not really treated like ready-mades. Meschtschanow subjects his pieces to a physical alteration, an operation in which the objects are fitted with a mechanical corset that raises them slightly off the ground. He does not completely transform them; the furniture does not completely change form. Instead, a secular transfiguration takes place, an act of elevation. The mechanism that the sculptor Alexej Meschtschanow uses to raise the different pieces of furniture out of their earth-bound function is a simple steel pipe construction that is coated with white plastic. Theses stands take up formal aspects of each respective object, and despite their clear function as supports, they seem to merge with the furniture.
In order to find the right words for Meschtschanow´s artistic gesture, it seems appropriate to use the metaphor of the corset. As generally understood, this word conveys the ambivalence expressed by the hybrid sculptures between support and constraint. In contrast to a corset Meschtschanow´s base frames do not deform the physical appearance of the objects. They seem to shift the earlier functionality of the pieces of furniture to make them into weigh-bearing constructions. Possibly the medical term "prosthetic" (from the Greek word prosthesis: addition, attachment) is an even better semantic reflection of the artist's interventions. A prosthetic is an artificial element that takes the place of missing or faulty limbs and represents their previous function. Although the exhibited objects do not appear to be in need of repair – they are not always damaged – this diagnosis refers less to the physical situation than a symbolic disturbance.
Meschtschanow brings things up from bourgeois basements of the past and places them on the stage of art: his supports are nothing more than the radical gesture of a pedestal. The artifacts are not just aura tic objects that have mutated into timeless crossbreeds in symbiosis with their prosthetics. Something is taking place behind the original appearance of these sculptural forms. No longer grounded in a historical context and now secured by a good twist of a screw, the works display themselves as surfaces for our projections. Our desired assurance of the innate, uninterrupted passage of history is made visible in the gentle curve an upholstered seat and in the carved ornamentation of the back of a chair. They represent our longing for a bygone era that seems to be preserved in a so-called antique like an insect frozen in amber.

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Florian Ebner

Galerie Alexandra Saheb
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