Charlotte Posenenske, ‘Prototype for Revolving Vane’ 1967–8
Charlotte Posenenske
Prototype for Revolving Vane 1967–8
© Estate of Charlotte Posenenske/Burkhard Brunn, Frankfurt/M.

Charlotte Posenenske and Ursula Schulz-Dornburg both explore the intersection between architecture, mass-produced objects and found sculptural forms. 

Posenenske’s democratic concept of art was realised in works that she compared to ‘building elements’. Increasingly interested in industrial methods of production, she began to produce free-standing sculptures which often resemble standardised architectural units. These were designed to be replicated in unlimited editions. Prototype for Revolving Vane is the original model which Posenenske went on to use for a series of box-like constructions in the form of a room, articulated and open to various arrangements and configurations. This prototype was made from found particle board on which the remnants of graffiti can be seen, highlighting the artist’s use of cheap, easily available materials. 

Like Posenenske’s sculptures, Schulz-Dornburg’s photographs highlight the presence of architectural forms in the everyday landscape. From 1997 to 2005, Schulz-Dornburg returned repeatedly to Armenia to document its concrete bus stops. Built in the 1970s and 1980s, these bus stops represented the golden age of socialist construction. Each one was unique, designed by a different architect. Combining creativity and spectacle with a utilitarian, functional role, the structures are at odds with the ethos of mass production usually associated with the Soviet era. Schulz-Dornburg photographed the bus stops as she found them, with people present, highlighting their ongoing functionality but also making clear the ironic gap between intention and effect. While the designs of the bus stops suggest protection, they often left their users very much exposed to the elements. 

Charlotte Posenenske (1930-1985) was born in Wiesbaden, Germany. She lived and worked in Frankfurt am Main. 

Ursula Schulz-Dornburg was born in Berlin in 1938. She lives and works in Düsseldorf. 

Curated by Shoair Mavlian.