Michel Sauer

Red Bookshelf, 1978

About the object

The sculpture »Red Bookshelf« made in 1978 by Michel Sauer reveals his interest in classification systems. The shelf as a system of order also corresponds to the essence of a(n) (art) collection: it starts from an existing collection or an existing mass of books (or artworks) and opens up new, hitherto unthought-of strands of meaning through surprising thematic, temporal and formal kinships and connections.
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Michel Sauer is interested in systems of classification, focussing for the most part upon everyday objects. Sauer studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe; he has taught widely and was awarded numerous prizes and prestigious fellowships, for example at the Villa Massimo, Rome and the Villa Romana, Florence. Michel Sauer taught at the University of Siegen from 1994 until 2014, where he was professor of art with a focus upon sculpture. The sculpture Rotes Bücherregal from 1978 completed a group of works that spanned several years and comprised an array of monochrome objects. By means of the formal reduction to a single, specific colour, the sculptures derive pronounced painterly qualities. Those books, the colours of which having faded over the years, are systematically replaced by fresh, non-faded books. Thus, it represents a kind of work in progress. The shelf as an ordering system corresponds to the essence of an (art) collection: it is posited upon a given setting, i.e. an extant mass of books (or artworks) whereby new, hitherto unimagined strands of meaning and associations emerge through surprising thematic, temporal and formal affinities.

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