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Bettina Pousttchi: Double Monument for Flavin and Tatlin X
‘Double Monument for Flavin and Tatlin X’ (2013), powder coated crowd barriers and neon, 112 x 55 x 59 in.; Private Collection, courtesy Buchmann Galerie Berlin
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For the past 15 years, → Bettina Pousttchi has created artworks in a variety of media including photography, video, and sculpture. These works often examine the constructed nature and tenuousness of memory. In recent projects, including Echo (2009-10) at the Temporare Kunsthalle in Berlin, → Drive Thru Museum (2014) at the Nasher Sculpture Center, and The City (2014) at Wolfsburg Castle in Wolfsburg, Germany, Pousttchi has presented photography at the scale of architecture, lending it a sense of monumentality and presence normally associated with large-scale sculpture.
Pousttchi’s independent sculptures have often incorporated commonly accepted instruments of control, such as crowd barriers and street bollards. Double Monument for Flavin and Tatlin X is part of a series of works that explicitly highlight the artistic connotations of the forms. Her interest in this series is in the function of the monument as an indicator of history and carrier of memory. Drawing on American minimalist artist Dan Flavin’s series of ‘monuments’ to the Russian constructivist artist, architect, and designer, Vladimir Tatlin, Pousttchi twisted crowd barriers into spiraling towers reminiscent of Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International and incorporated white neon shafts that recall Flavin’s fluorescent light sculptures. The Double Monuments acknowledge the impact these figures had on her own work and, in so doing, carries forward her impression of Tatlin’s and Flavin’s achievements. By creating a series of the Double Monuments, each one varying from the others in composition and feeling, Pousttchi not only nods to the importance of series in the work of Flavin and other minimalists, but also highlights the possibility of multiple readings of her homage.
Born in Mainz, Germany in 1971, Pousttchi studied with artists Rosemarie Trockel and Gerhard Merz at the esteemed Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum in New York in the 1990s. Since 1997, she has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions, including at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2009, the Kunsthalle Basel in 2011, and the major projects mentioned above.
Text by Jed Morse, Chief Curator, Nasher Sculpture Center