For the group exhibition at the gallery, Theresa Lawrenz developed the three-part work “stairs3”,
which alluded to the three steps leading to the entrance door of the gallery. In addition, the
dimensions of the work referred specifically to the gallery’s interior spaces. In her solo exhibition,
the artist now responds to the exhibition spaces primarily through their relation to the outside
space. The starting point is that the gallery space does not appear to be hermetically sealed off
from the outside space, but enters into a dialogue with it. Beside the spatially stepped transition,
it is above all the large, floor-to-ceiling shop window that mediates between inside and outside
and creates views as well as insights. The view from inside to outside onto the street is just as
given as the other way around.
In the work “rainx”, the interaction between inside and outside becomes particularly clear. On the
glass of the shop window, a silicone mould is attached that shows the typical semi-circular
pattern that a windscreen wiper with two wiper arms leaves on the windscreen of a car when it
pushes aside raindrops, dirt or snow. In front of and next to it, Theresa Lawrenz has leaned two
windscreen wiper arms, formed from short metal rods and held together with concrete, throning
on long, thin stalks. Similar to the way the artist gained her forms from observing how one looks
at the road traffic or the car, the viewer’s gaze is led back to the outside space, to the cars parked
in front of the gallery. The viewer’s attention is drawn from the work to the location.
At the same time, it becomes clear that Theresa Lawrenz’s artistic practice is largely characterized
by an interest in taking up familiar objects or even forms of our everyday perception, translating
them into other materials and transferring them into new contexts. In this way, the viewer
perceives the shape of these objects differently than they would usually do under the sole aspect
A good example are the ceramic works and installations that have emerged from her
preoccupation with hubcaps – also called wheel trims. They are based on objects she has found
as well as on her archive photographs of hubcaps, which the artist has repeatedly made over the
past months on her way through cities such as Frankfurt or Mainz.
On the gallery floor is an installation of three hubcaps held together only by five steel rods. The
weight of the hubcaps has been brought into a fragile equilibrium by the artist with the help of the
metal rods. The rods and hubcaps keep each other in balance. The tension expressed in the
fragile balancing act, the almost falling over, creates a poetic, playful effect that is further
enhanced by the interplay of two very different materials – hard iron rods and fragile ceramics.
Other hubcaps are distributed individually or in loose groupings in the exhibition space. The
design of the individual specimens is partly very different, just as there are different models,
depending on the type of vehicle, requirement or taste. Some are
-shaped and appear very symmetrical, others have an almost closed surface with few recesses. It
is not only the object that is of interest to the artist and serves her as a model, but above all its
different shapes, patterns and rhythms, which are on the one hand individual and yet also
characteristic of a multitude of all hubcaps.
The installation appears minimalist, but the ceramics also evoke the most diverse associations.
For example, to manhole covers or old wooden wheels. The analogy to cogwheels also comes
up. The more closed ones may remind some visitors of plates.
The installation in the back room of the gallery is also a work with an automotive reference, more
precisely an oversized steering wheel made of elastomer, produced in a sand casting process.
In terms of its shape, it is reminiscent of a ring that is connected to a central part by four
asymmetrically arranged spokes. The elastomer ensures that the steering wheel appears strongly
deformed. Half of the lower part rests on a base protrusion of the room, the other half leans
against the wall. The upper rim of the steering wheel is supported by a metal rod that rises
vertically from the floor and stands freely in the room. Similar to the floor work, this work also has
something very fragile, something unstable about it. And here, too, two very different materials
meet: hard metal and elastic plastic.
The steering wheel is so deformed that it is no longer recognizable as such. Only the title “quarter
to three”, which refers to the recommended position of the hands on a car steering wheel,
humorously reveals what it actually is. The alienation of the outer form irritates the perception, to
which (depending on the location) other facets open up again and again; primarily abstract forms,
without clear associations. The slightly porous surface structure, typical of sand casting, with its
striking grain reminiscent of a leopard skin, gives the sculpture its very own character.
By translating it into a different size and material, the object defies the usual reception, which is
usually limited to the functional aspect, of steering.
In addition to sculptural works and installations, Theresa Lawrenz has recently turned to
monotype, a printing technique that combines painting, drawing and graphics. Although it is a
printing technique, the results are unique.
Like the sculptural works and installations, the small-format monotypes are dedicated to objects
and forms of the urban outdoor space and the car, such as the windscreen motif or crowd
barriers. Overall, the paintings are characterized by a sketchy, abstracting formal language with
lines and surfaces fraying at the edges, some of which have a cellular, others a punctiform,
Theresa Lawrenz’s works shown in the exhibition enter into dialogue with each other as well as
with the outside space. In doing so, they allow for a variety of associations and irritate our
perception; the boundary between abstraction and representation is sometimes fluid. In this way,
they can contribute to opening up a different view of the everyday or the previously overlooked.