I seem to be interested in things that connote a type of transition.
With approximately 40 sculptures, five large-scale installations, and several groups of drawings, it is the largest exhibition of Gober’s work to date. For this exhibition in Schaulager great care has been taken to reconstruct installations – some for the first time since they were created – and assemble a large number of works, the earliest of which are scarcely known at all and the most recent of which have never been exhibited before.
Over a period of three decades, Gober has developed an oeuvre that is fascinating for its mixture of the familiar and the strange. Whether independent sculptures or entire rooms, all of Gober’s works are made up of familiar elements, and in their form and constellations they have a disquieting and frequently distressing effect. Childhood, sexuality, religion, discrimination and power are themes that have always preoccupied Gober and for which he has developed his own unique pictorial language. These are all old themes that have emerged from time immemorial in social communities, both private and public, and here they are narrated from the perspective of the 1980s and 1990s and the first years of the twenty-first century, against the backdrop of a nation that had once sought to become a centre of Western culture.
Gober’s visual world unfolds from everyday domestic life, personal history and collective common knowledge. His creative career began with drawings of interiors and constructions of miniature houses, which were soon superseded by sculptures depicting everyday objects. These are replicas that are meticulously created from scratch. The sculptures that result are deceptively similar to the original but also radiate an uncanny autonomy that tells us that they are not what they pretend to be. They inhabit a space between reality and dream in which the clear meaning of things breaks up and becomes an open flux.
The intertwining of individual sculptures and installations, interrupted occasionally by a group of drawings, makes it possible to experience the formal and thematic density and rigour that Gober has developed over the years into a powerful panorama. The most recent works give a sense of the rich variety and confident mastery with which Gober is continuing to extend that panorama.