Michael Sailstorfer sees himself as a sculptor and approaches the possibilities of sculpture in an experimental fashion. In his artistic practice, elements and objects from everyday life serve as the starting point for idiosyncratic experiments. With the targeted use of smell, sound, movement, and time, his works often surpass our traditional understanding of sculpture: a popcorn machine that spills out popcorn nonstop, a bus stop on a rural road outfitted with a kitchen and a bed that invites the passerby to stay a while. Forests, landscapes, and trees are certainly part of his vocabulary, as are mechanical systems and machines that enter into, at times, contradictory relationships with each other through Sailstorfer’s enigmatically humorous interventions.
For his exhibition at Rochester Art Center, Sailstorfer will present two major installations in the Burton and Judy Onofrio Main Gallery, and smaller works in the adjacent Accent Gallery. Forst is a multilayered installation that will be reinstalled and adapted for Rochester Art Center after its initial presentation at the Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, in 2010. Forst not only combines a mechanical system with an element from nature, but also brings the forest into the exhibition space. From a support system 16 feet above the floor of the Art Center, five trees will hang upside down, rotating slowly on a motor. As the trees dry out over the course of the exhibition, they constantly loose their leaves and branches. The remains are constantly swept aside and into patterns by the remaining branches, becoming a parody of the concept of “foresting” or the cultivation of a forest for commercial purposes.
In a yet untitled installation in the remaining sector of the gallery, Sailstorfer will present an entirely new sound sculpture installation. As an enthusiast of percussion instruments, Sailstorfer has archived many recordings of drum solos, from classic jazz to heavy metal. For this installation, Sailstorfer has taken a recording of well-know drummer Dave Lombardo and isolated audio tracks that corresponds to each drum or cymbal on Lombardo’s notoriously large and complicated kit. Consequently, over 15 discrete audio tracks have been created, each of which will be heard through an individual speaker placed inside a small sculptural form. These sculptures, placed throughout the gallery, will simultaneously separate yet join these instrument recordings in an enveloping environment of sonic resonance.