© 2022

The Elephant in the Room 2023


The Elephant in the Room (Otto von Bismarck), 2023 (Detail)

A life-sized taxidermy specimen of a giraffe stands side by side with a replica of the equestrian statue of Otto von Bismarck, which is located in Bremen. At first, they seem to form an intact whole until, in an elaborate manner, they gradually collapse to reveal that their bodies are separated into sections. Once they’ve fallen, they slowly straighten up again, limb by limb. The speed of the collapse is individual to each sculpture and their relationship is constantly changing: sometimes the two figures go through a parallel process; occasionally one buckles while the other stands upright. These works scale up the push figure’s brute quality enormously, and what happens with ease in the children’s toy now turns into a laborious process. Due to their enormous size, they transport the viewer back to childhood, although the question as to who is pressing the button to trigger the collapse remains open.

The series The Elephant in the Room inquires into how monuments function and what role they play in the creation of social identity. The individual sculptures, based on various memorials and natural monuments, symbolize social processes of constructing nature and history. The works presented here address the instrumentalization of the first chancellor of the German Empire Otto von Bismarck to create a specific narrative and construction of German history that continues to exert its effect to this day, while the giraffe is a monument to an exoticized nature entirely separate from humans. Their ongoing movement illustrates a constant, never-ending process of renegotiation.


The Elephant in the Room (Otto von Bismarck), 2023


The Elephant in the Room, 2023, Installation view


The Elephant in the Room (Giraffe), 2023