Stefan Brüggemann
Trash Paintings Trash Paintings Trash Paintings
Trash Paintings

The canvases feature silkscreened texts written or gathered by the artist overpainted with the word ‘trash’. It is as if Brüggemann were dismissing the previous output as being worthless. This gesture is related to the practice of erasure and obliteration, techniques employed elsewhere by the artist. Words and statements are addressed similarly to found objects that have a longer tradition in art; they are removed from their intended purpose and turned into a new ‘material’ to be used in his paintings, sculptures, and installations.

Moreover, the works underscore the artist’s preoccupation with a culture of consumption in which all things may be transformed from items of value into worthless trinkets, a process governed by the passage of time and the switching of context. Under Capitalism individuals toil in order to purchase goods, consume them, and discard the remains; it is a system in which objects are exhausted by use, a process that terminates in waste or trash.

Brüggemann draws a subtle distinction between consumer goods and objects of aesthetic value. The latter’s worth is generally more stable as it is related to cultural value, a system defined by patronage and a tightly controlled market and which upholds art’s enduring qualities.