I’m sure that many of you already know this artist, but I was really unaware of him until I happened upon a Greek magazine (ARTI) from 1994 in a used bookstore. The cover, which caught my eye, depicted a small, sculptural building made of brick. Curiously, there seemed to be no way into the building, which I guess is not so curious if you think of this thing as less a building and more a sculpture. Here is a link to a page of images that I scanned from the magazine.

Flipping thorough the magazine, realizing that the artist’s works were split between totally nasty 80’s paintings and these sculptural abstractions made of brick, produced a sensation of partial repulsion and partial attraction. I purchased the magazine, and read it in the bathroom.

Kirkeby’s romantic, public abstractions echo all kinds of creepy architecture. They are square, strong, too small to be truly impressive, and wallow in the failed permanence of the architectures they mimic. In them I see old-time astronomical observatories, Nazi ovens, Roman aqueducts, unused public plazas – things that we now only see as ruins. In the same way that they condense western architecture, they begin to suggest a condensed history. I’m projecting here, but the fact that many of these sculptures present themselves as faux-buildings without entrance or exit makes them indifferent to a viewer’s presence. In this way they become authoritarian – maybe even fascist.

I love the little expressionist bronze trophies that Kirkeby says are the models for his brick sculptures. Does he really discover the form of a building while molding these things? Does he really present these hunks of metal to public works committees as models for his proposals?

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