Thought. Heard. Seen. Experienced – drawn by Michael Schramm
Offering space for contemporary art at our locations – for employees, customers and guests – is an inherent part of the identity of foryouandyourcustomers. A further form of ‘thinking outside the box, which is characteristic of the company,’ as formulated by Curator Thomas Weltner at the introduction to the vernissage. For the 30th exhibition within the group, foryouandyourcustomers Stuttgart is giving local artist Michael Schramm a platform to present his art.
What is there to see and to experience? What does Michael Schramm wish to present or convey to the observer? And what are you missing if you do not go and see the exhibition in Augustenstrasse 44 in Stuttgart? These are all questions that guests like to ask artists. And on this evening, some questions were answered – and others remained unanswered.
Picture ‘COIN PIECED AUBERGINES AUDI OLYMPIC GAMES SPONSORED BY NON-BITEN APPLE’.
‘Enriching, whether you like the style or not,’ was the judgement of one vernissage visitor during her first walk through the rooms, referring to the picture ‘COIN PIECED AUBERGINES AUDI OLYMPIC GAMES SPONSORED BY NON-BITEN APPLE’ that was already sold. ‘Looking at art, and trying to understand it, is an enrichment and welcome change from everyday working life. What effect must it then have on the employees who not only are able to, but inevitably have to, contemplate it for a whole year?’
What can be seen and experienced in the exhibition?
Together with Curator Thomas Weltner, Michael Schramm has hung 28 mainly small-format works in the offices of foryouandyourcustomers Stuttgart. An arrangement that ‘surprises, confuses and deviates from the expected’ as one guest described the feeling when entering the first room.
The works are displayed in a totally unconventional format. Some are hung in pairs, others edge to edge in larger groups: in large, dark wooden frames, nailed, under glass panes that are either too small or precisely fitting. Never placed centrally, to the same fixed point, in the middle of the wall, but around corners, flush to door frames, almost escaping, with the wish to push their way into the next room, to open it, to reveal it – dissolving and redefining the spacial order of things. Isolated drawings hang autonomously, asserting themselves against large white wall surfaces. ‘Yes, the exhibition is ready (hung),’ replied Thomas Weltner to the somewhat hesitant looks of the guests. ‘And no, it wants to be seen and understood afresh time and again. Not even the details are ready. The exhibition has been hung up ‘unready’. ‘Neither the use of space nor the viewing time are comparable with traditional exhibitions. We are in an office, not a gallery or an art establishment,’ said Michael Schramm. ‘My art is not competing with the office furniture in the individual rooms. And the drawings are not there to fit in. Neither as mere wall decoration, nor as an accompaniment. A feeling of having to be together in the same room should arise: not repellent, but also not necessarily so desired or so chosen. The drawings behave as if they were on the stage, they perform with one another, but also with the furniture, the rooms themselves and the people in them.
What would Michael Schramm like to present or convey to the viewer?
How was it written in the invitation to the vernissage? ‘Lines, hatching, directions are implied; rooms open up. A living space full of shapes and signs unfolds before our eyes.’ ‘The lines of my drawings are not going for a walk. They are running back and forth and up and down. As if they were swimming. Also in curves.’ This is how the artist describes his method of work. What at first appears to be childlike scribblings develops, on closer examination, into its own universe of short stories, episodes and graphic poetry. ‘The drawings do not represent anything that can be directly resolved by the observer. They are abstract. But nevertheless they try to express something that you perhaps cannot link with anything. But you might think that it comes from somewhere and that you know it from somewhere.
And what are you missing if you do not see the exhibition?
‘The path that foryouandyourcustomers is taking here in the world of art is a very exciting path, which I am very happy to follow. I was present at the first vernissage of Martin Huidobro. You cannot compare the art of these two artists. A huge picture was hanging in one of the office rooms then. A yellow helicopter on a sky-blue background. Without question, a fantastic picture. However, once you had seen it, it was stored in your mind,’ said a guest and another continued: ‘With Michael Schramm it’s different, less structured, less clear, less straightforward – with regard to the style and the expression. I see chaos, simple lines, like on a sheet of music, squares, tubes, many other shapes. The lines swing; the shapes dance; they express something different, something new, depending on the angle from which they are viewed. I cannot grasp any of the drawings the first time I see them and feel a strong urge to look at them again and again.’