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Olaf Metzel opens up a dialogue between art and reality

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    May 2013: A group of 21 bistro tables stand in the inner courtyard and the adjacent cafeteria of a Munich Re office building at Mandlstrasse. 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 lacquered aluminium.

    Olaf Metzel talks to Susanne Ehrenfried-Bergmann and employee of Munich Re.

    © Olaf Metzel / Munich Re

    Olaf Metzel 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. 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. Metzel's Pausenhof invites customers and guests not only to look on and reflect, but also to take a real break here.

    Olaf Metzel, Pausenhof, 2013
    © Olaf Metzel / Munich Re, Photo: Leonie Felle