[January 23 2024]
The solo exhibition Everything No One Ever Wanted, the largest to date by the Swiss artist Tobias Spichtig, addresses post-capitalist angst, eroticism, and the death of desire through a series of paintings and sculptural works. In a post-technological world in ruins, his visual universe connects to the cultural underground in fashion, art, and music. Spichtig also uses corporate furniture and performance to present a proto-futuristic commentary on consumerism and the dichotomy between coveted desires and discarded products.
With elongated faces and sharp body contours, Spichtig’s paintings echo the artists of German Expressionist movement Die Brücke, such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt Ruttluff, and Erich Heckel. Enigmatic images of gaunt alienesque figures accentuate a sense of bizarre eroticism. A series of intimate portraits depict the characters that inhabit this haunting world – Rick Owens, the Balenciaga icon Mintu, his girlfriend in the nude. Set against minimalist color fields, the figures convey a curious intensity and inner reflection.
An office chair takes center stage in the main room, a remnant of the industrial era and a symbolic self-portrait of the artist within his studio. Spichtig’s deflated ghostly sculptures – hollowed out by the anxieties of contemporary society, their forms withered into eerie outlines – symbolize the specters of a hyper-capitalist world. In a contiguous room, a series of knife-like metal tombstones are engraved with cuttingly ironic epitaphs on love, loss, and desire. Their sharp forms are starkly contrasted against the elongated pinnacles and gargoyles of a Gothic church visible through the window, visually linking the interior and exterior spaces.
On view at Kunsthalle Basel until April 28th.
St. Alban-Graben 16,
4051 Basel, Switzerland
Images provided by Kunsthalle Basel
Text by Aleph Molinari