Monochrome graphics create optical illusions
at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

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Artist Tobias Rehberger has taken over a gallery in his home city of Frankfurt with black and white graphics that play tricks on the eye (+ slideshow).

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

Tobias Rehberger has filled a series of spaces within the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt museum with a diverse selection of his work for the Home and Away and Outside exhibition.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

"Tobias Rehberger. Home and Away and Outside brings together the many strands of this internationally renowned artist's diverse practice, highlighting the numerous themes and influences that have become integral to his work," said a statement from the gallery.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

Over 60 sculptures, installations and paintings are displayed through the exhibition, which is split into three themed sections.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

In the first area Rehberger has covered surfaces with geometric black and white patterns that create optical illusions, similar to when he installed a temporary replica of his favourite Frankfurt bar in a New York hotel last year.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

Known as dazzle camouflage, this optical technique was originally used on ships during the First World War to make them difficult to target.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

As a stark contract, the second space is all white and exhibits sculptures with functional qualities.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

Among these items are Rehberger's versions of iconic twentieth-century furniture designs, which he sketched from memory and then had the drawings recreated as three-dimensional objects.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

The artist also created a new sculpture that appears to be cobbled together from found neon tubes, lit advertising signs and old fairground lights.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

The piece hangs from the ceiling of the building's cylindrical lobby and is lit from above, casting a shadow that spells "regret" onto a white platform on the floor.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

Curated by Mathias Ulrich, the exhibition continues until 11 May.

Read on for more information:


Tobias Rehberger. Home and Away and Outside
21 February – 11 May 2014, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

Tobias Rehberger. Home and Away and Outside at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is an exhibition in three parts by Tobias Rehberger (born 1966), one of the most influential German artists of his generation. An artist who defies categorisation, Rehberger creates objects, sculptures and environments as diverse in subject, media and context, as they are prolific. Drawing on a repertoire of ordinary, everyday items appropriated from mass culture, Rehberger translates, alters and expands upon familiar situations and objects causing the viewer to question their understanding and interpretation of art.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

Tobias Rehberger. Home and Away and Outside is curated by Mathias Ulrich and narrates Rehberger's artistic development with works spanning 20 years. Divided into three thematic sections, the exhibition presents more than 60 works including sculptures, installations, and paintings that deal with a broad collection of themes incorporating optical illusions, identity games, and the notion of transience. Rehberger draws upon his own memories; takes inspiration from outdated production techniques; and challenges ideas of ownership, authorship and copyright – themes that are constantly present.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

The exhibition starts with a continuation of the 2009 work that won Rehberger the Golden Lion for best artist at the 53rd Venice Biennial - Was du liebst, bringt dich auch zum Weinen. Rehberger has transformed the gallery space into artwork, covering it in a unique dazzle camouflage graphic artwork specifically created for the exhibition. Dazzle camouflage, appropriated repeatedly by Rehberger in his work, was an optical technique originally used during World War I and mainly on ships, making them difficult to pinpoint as targets. Within this space, Rehberger has placed deliberately flawed sculptures that challenge notions of aesthetic perfection and other works that examine the subject of functionality and production of art.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

In sharp contrast to this introductory visual statement, the second part of the exhibition is an all white, starkly minimalist landscape that blurs the architectural boundaries of the space. Here Rehberger has positioned sculptures with clearly functional qualities, such as furniture, lamps, and vases, which typify his sculptural work from the 1990s onwards. They pose the question of whether art can be permitted a function or whether it then transforms into a piece of design. Rehberger also presents work that studies issues of authorship, of the artist's control, and of the artist's genuine influence on their work if the production process is delegated to others. In one series, We Never Work on Sundays (1994), Rehberger sketched, from his own flawed memories, examples of iconic 20th century furniture designs and commissioned Cameroonian carpenters to recreate them as three-dimensional objects. Again Rehberger plays with notions of cultural codification as well as artistic ownership and authenticity.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

For the third part of the exhibition, situated in the freely accessible Schirn Rotunda at the entrance of the Kunsthalle, Rehberger has created a large-scale shadow sculpture that will hang from the roof of the atrium. Created from new but appearing to be assembled from found neon tubes, lit advertising signs, and old fairground lights, a spotlight is placed above the sculpture causing it to cast a shadow onto a large round central pedestal below which takes the form of a word.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition

Tobias Rehberger. Home and Away and Outside brings together the many strands of this internationally renowned artist's diverse practice, highlighting the numerous themes and influences that have become integral to his work. The exhibition marks Rehberger's first major exhibition in Frankfurt, the city in which he lives and works.

Monochrome graphics create optical illusions at Tobias Rehberger's solo exhibition