Olaf Metzel opens up a dialogue between art and reality | 2013
A group of 21 bistro tables stand in the inner courtyard and the
adjacent cafeteria of a Munich Re office building at Mandlstrasse 3
near the English Garden. With their signal-red tablecloths, they
make the courtyard an inviting place to spend a break. A few of the
tables, however, appear to be deformed or bent out of shape.
Hanging as if taken by the wind, the tablecloths also jar the
senses somewhat: they are not made of cloth or plastic, but of
Olaf Metzel (*1952 in Berlin, lives and works in Munich) draws his
ideas from reality, forms them in striking ways, and so places them
at our disposal in a confrontational interplay of art and the
actual living world. The bistro tables move between functionality
and total dissolution. The deformation of some of the tables is
evidence of their having been subjected to some prior incident. Are
these traces of destruction from a nightly drinking spree? Hard to
imagine in a business environment! But it is precisely this
ambiguity that makes us curious, inspiring interpretation and
reflection on what might have taken place here.
Olaf Metzel is a keen observer. In his work he likes to address
current topics and takes a political and socially critical
standpoint, often provocative and radical. For example in 2006 with
the bronze,"Turkish Delight", which shows a female nude wearing a
head scarf, illustrating the tension between the occidental and
Islamic cultures. Metzel's sculptures generally take reference to
their locations. They engage themselves with their histories,
functions, significance. In this way the artist also demands of the
observer a critical awareness that transcends the space in which he
or she is
The arrangement and positioning of the 21 bistro tables were
precisely set down by Olaf
Metzel. "Pausenhof" invites customers and guests not only to
look on and reflect, but also to take a real break here.
Olaf Metzel talks to Susanne Ehrenfried, curator of the Munich
Re art collection and employee of Munich Re.
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