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The Shape of Things to Come: Dirk Skreber

The new exhibition at the Saatchi showcases the works of 20 of the most acclaimed sculpture artists to emerge during the last few years

One of the leading galleries in London, the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea presents The Shape Of Things To Come: New Sculpture – a 20 artist strong exhibit featuring the work of David Altmejd, John Baldessari, David Batchelor, Peter Buggenhout, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Matthew Brannon, Bjorn Dahlem, Folkert de Jong, Roger Hiorns, Martin Honert, Thomas Houseago, Joanna Malinowska, Kris Martin, Matthew Monahan, Dirk Skreber, Anselm Reyle, Sterling Ruby, David Thorpe Oscar Tuazon and Rebecca Warren.

The exhibit, running from end of May through to mid-October, has taken over the entire gallery space, celebrating recent artists in the field whose work has sought to re-write the traditional form of sculpture. Installations made using wood, foam, crystal, and even hair, come in the huge to the miniature, dark to glowing bright, and stunningly pale to kaleidoscopic arrays of colour. The diversity of works provide real insight into the varying degrees of contemporary sculptural practise, with works exploring scale, the decay of our urban environment, and conceptions of the human figure itself.

Dirk Skreber – one of the artists whose work features as part of the exhibit – draws upon perceptions from his childhood in Germany, inspired by the overwhelming industrial presence in his home town. As a young boy, Dirk was captivated by the industry around him and after a short time painting car crashes, creating dystopian visionary wastelands from cars wrapped round poles and bike parts lingering across barren roads, he moved his practise into sculpture where an innate relationship between industry and sculpting has been realised.

Dazed Digital: Can you tell us about the industrial themes in your work and where the inspiration originated from?
Dirk Skreber:
I grew up in a suburban district of northern Germany close to a wide river on the border to former East Germany. The river banks were packed with early 20th century industry. All of this industry was back in the days of a 24/7 working shift system, so as a child I was listening and watching the scenery all day every day, which includes observing three heavy iron furnaces standing in front of our home as giants just a couple of hundreds of meters away.

DD: What parallels do you see between industry and sculpture?
Dirk Skreber:
It’s a relationship of giving and taking.

DD: Which is the most important piece to you in the exhibition and why?
Dirk Skreber:
I think the show is too strong to point out the most important piece. Although, I was very much touched by Berlinde de Bruyckere’s horse pieces before and after I’ve heard they’re related to World War 1 battlefield research she did. I also was happy to see Mathew Brannon’s Nevertheless, because I haven’t seen this aspect of his work before.

DD: Your car series initially started as paintings – could you tell me about the transition to sculpture and why?
Dirk Skreber:
There’s curiousness in the crash paintings that wasn’t satisfied before I did the sculptures. After doing the paintings I was done with that theme for just a short while until I figured something is still unanswered and can’t be answered with paintings. I was trapped in sort of a ‘what if’ situation and had to do something about it other than go on thinking.

DD: What does your work say about you as an individual?
Dirk Skreber:
I leave it to other people to find out about that.

The Shape Of Things To Come: New Sculpture runs at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea’s Sloane Square, London; May 27 to October 16, 2011