Stefan Brüggemann
Trash Mirror Boxes Trash Mirror Boxes Trash Mirror Boxes
Trash Mirror Boxes

By borrowing elements and strategies of the classic art movements of the 20th Century, Brüggemann seeks to reassess them in the light of the Contemporary; this strategy accounts for a sense of familiarity when encountering the artist’s works, which are, at once, entirely new and yet recognizable. Trash Mirror Boxes (2016) is based on the artist’s ‘minimal pop’ aesthetic, in which elements from key moments of art history intersect. The work comprises a large quantity of reflective glass boxes arranged in stacks of different configurations and numbers, reminiscent of standard packing cartons, an explicit quotation of the seminal Trash (1991) edition by Venezuelan conceptual artist Meyer Vaisman.

The switch from one physical substance to another underlines the objects’ conceptual migration whilst firmly retaining the recollection of its former state. The surface on two sides of each box is screenprinted with the word Trash rendering the mirror-plate opaque. Each imprint is unique and based on the artist’s handwritten repetition of the word. The tops and bottoms of each box also bears the print of packing tape, seemingly keeping it shut. In fact, the replication of this ordinary item, using an entirely different material renders it uncanny - mirror replacing card, image substituting tape.

The stratagem of migration, in which everything is moved from its proper place to another, is patent here as the artist reverses inner and outer, rendering everything rootless. The mirrored boxes cannot be opened, but the artist’s ‘handwritten’ message tells us they contain ‘trash’. Their content is therefore not inside, but appears only on the outside, displayed as an image disguised as a cursory note. Brüggemann points to the unstable nature of today’s information, which is signposted but whose content cannot be verified. The message inscribed on the reflective surface proposes a meaningless content (‘trash’) while the mirror becomes symptomatic of a narcissistic hypercapitalism in which the viewer’s image and the act of consumption are entirely conflated. Brüggemann’s sobering critique appears to be directed at a society of consumption that promotes the insertion of our own image – our singular presence – in order to console us to the realization that its products of desire are indeed worthless.