TOBIAS PUTRIH: STEEL INDUSTRY
>> Opening on Friday, 26 August 2022, at 7 PM.
>> Curator: Jernej Kožar
With the title of his exhibition “Steel Industry” in the Ravne Gallery, Tobias Putrih highlights the more than 400-year tradition of metalworking in the region, while also referring to the Forma viva Ravne, a collection of 36 steel sculptures throughout the city and surroundings. Tobias Putrih is also the author of a monumental sculpture “Apartments R”, located in front of the Carinthian Steelworkers Elementary School at Javornik in Ravne na Koroškem, created for the Forma viva in 2014.
The exhibition “Steel Industry” is composed of two parts. In the first part, we see a mural made up of seven coloured strips descending from the ceiling down to the floor. The colour scheme follows the most common colours in pictures found by an online browser when searching for the phrase “steel industry”. In collaboration with Ardalan SadeghiKivi, Putrih developed an algorithm that analyses these pictures and deconstructs them into colour units, which are then combined to form an average of similar colours.
In the second part of the exhibition, we see nine steel forgings on a large platform made specifically for this purpose. Putrih selected them in collaboration with development engineers from the company SIJ Metal Ravne from their technological cuttings and research samples. The sculptures at the exhibition “Steel Industry” are made of different types of steel, produced by the SIJ Metal Ravne company. The selected cuttings are arranged in a specific order: along with offering visitors aesthetic pleasure, they also provide insight into the technical properties of individual types of steel. Steel has a density of 7850 kg/m3 at room temperature, which means that steel products are much heavier than other materials we encounter every day.
These nine forgings are accompanied by two sculptures placed tightly against a wall, which the sculptor made of steel forgings specifically for this exhibition. They are composed of several pieces placed one on top of the other and thus provide a different visual experience, owing both to their material and to the way they are placed. Their arrangement strikes a stark contrast with the refined arrangement on the white plinth, as it brings a feeling of production into the exhibition, and due to the plinths made of used pellets that are successfully integrated into the body of the sculpture.
In his work, Tobias Putrih combines work in sculpture with various other disciplines, from architecture to science, design, and now also steel-working. Although his works often appear in the form of drafts, models, and mock-ups, they can be seen as complete installations in which the sculptor connects various fields of human creativity and technology. Putrih is interested in visionary architectural and design concepts. The sculptor creates architectural modifications of various public spaces and temporary structures made of everyday materials, such as paper, cardboard, chipboard, plywood, Styrofoam, straw, and others.
Tobias Putrih (1972) graduated in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in 1999 and completed his master’s studies there in sculpture and video in 2003. Between 1998 and 1999, he studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Tony Cragg. His works are included in many museum collections: MoMA, New York; MACBA, Barcelona; Fondazione Prada, Milano; Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana; and Forma viva Ravne na Koroškem. He has received several awards for his work, including the Prešeren Fund Award in 2008. Putrih lives and works between Ljubljana and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Since 2005, he has lectured there at the Program in Art, Culture, and Technology – School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.