I found his artwork interesting in documenting history but also perhaps reflecting in a totally different way, John Chamberlain’s work.
Olaf Metzel (born in 1952) is one of the most influential sculptors in Germany. His installations and objects in the public realm, which reflect his particular interest in social topics, have met with especially great critical acclaim.
At Expo Chicago, the WENTRUP booth shows several of Metzel’s wall works, also made of welded aluminum. These depict enlarged newspaper articles, which he folds against the resistance of the material. Metzel’s wall works deliberately use previously published articles and vintage cartographical material.
Source material for the sculpture “Avalanche” for instance was an old edition of the identically named American art magazine, which was published in New York during 1970 – 1976. Avalanche was a completely new format, which frequently involved artists into the creation and production of the magazine.
Another sculpture deals with the American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer William S. Burroughs. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century.
The sculptures generate new meaning by their selective use of specific pages as sculptural ingredients. In so doing, they speak equally eloquently to the history of print media and storytelling, to cartography and its grandchild Google maps and, not least, to what specific parameters of information are able to encompass and what was considered unimportant enough to be left out. The final result communicates a physical lightness despite the heaviness of its material – folded against its intrinsic resistance.
Since beginning to work as an artist, Metzel has remained interested in finding ways of transferring political struggles into the materials he works with.
Metzel had his first solo exhibition in 1982 in West Berlin at Galerie René Block; subsequently he had numerous solo shows both in Germany and abroad, including Documenta 8 (1987) and twice at sculpture projects Münster in 1987 and 1997.
Last year Kunstverein Hamburg presented a comprehensive survey of his works of the last 30 years. His work was recently on view at Museum für Konkrete Kunst in Ingolstadt, Germany.
Solo exhibitions in 2015 include venues such as Neue Pinakothek in Munich, Neues Museum Nuremberg, Kunsthal 44 Møen in Denmark and Kunstraum Innsbruck in Austria.
His works are in various major collections such as Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Hamburger Kunsthalle and Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, Deutsche Bank Collection, Berlin, Centre Pompidou Paris, Pinakothek der Moderne and Lenbachhaus, Munich, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf, ZKM, Karlsruhe and Collezione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, to name some.
In fall of 2015 works by Metzel will be shown at the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin as part of the René Block collection.
Upcoming solo exhibitions take place at Neue Pinakothek in Munich and at Neues Museum in Nuremberg.
Since 1990 Metzel holds the professorship in sculpture of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he also lives and works.