Art Forum | Karsten Födinger | Trestles

Martin Schwander
June 6, 2019
12 June – 25 October 2019 | Opening reception: Wednesday 12 June 2019, 5:30 – 10 pm

Opening hours Art Forum Baloise

Tuesday 25 June and Wednesday 25 September 2019 at 12:30 am  as part of a guided tour with Karsten Födinger und curator Martin Schwander or by appointment:

Karsten Födinger

German artist Karsten Födinger studied sculpture at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. In 2009, he completed his studies under Professor Meuser. From the outset, Födinger was not interested in the idea of an autonomous sculpture that has no relationship with its surroundings. He prefers his art to interact with existing architectural situations, always taking into account the historical and cultural context in which his sculptures find themselves.

Födinger’s contribution to the ‘art statement’ sector at Art Basel in 2012 was a perfect example of this. His Baloise Art Prize-winning installation, Defensive Reinforcement, took its cues from a momentous event in the history of Basel – the destructive earthquake of 1356. Födinger used wooden beams to reinforce and obstruct a stand at the show, thus creating a space full of paradoxes and tension.

His sculptures, mostly made of simple building materials, expose the basic forces at work when constructing and supporting three-dimensional objects. Movement and rest, load and load-bearing, diagonal and horizontal, mass and emptiness – these are the opposites that define his work, which is based somewhere between architecture and sculpture. Födinger himself believes his art has less to do with architecture than with structural engineering.


Walking through a street in his home town of Mönchengladbach as a boy, Födinger came across some braces holding up the walls of two houses. He has been reliving this scene, a key influence on the way he understands sculpture, by photographing buildings around the world that are prevented from collapsing by braces, trestles and similar structures. Through his ongoing work, Födinger showcases a wide range of support solutions in a detached and factual way. His photographic archive, which has grown considerably, can also be interpreted as a compendium of human creativity: the supporting solutions are as varied as the buildings to which they have been applied. They can be invisible or near invisible, intricate or rough and ready, restrained or visually striking. And they often involve the use of the most grotesque means to halt the process of decay that all buildings undergo.


Karsten Födinger, born 1978 in Mönchengladbach, lives and works in Berlin.