Tobias Buche is an up and coming young German sculpture, Lehmann Maupin, a respected Chelsea Gallery so why is Buche showing work that looks like an oversize low tech science fair project? The answer has a lot to do with the current fashion for art that tries hard not to look too good. No one is going to look at this show and call Buche a sell out to market driven art. It is like he is taking paints to make his art look underwhelming.
He takes his own snap shots along with pictures from the internet, newspapers, dust covers and albums covers and puts them on this flimsy looking supports. Any of these tape marks, pin holes and rips on the pictures as if to suggest that these are not precious art objects at all. Buche is not the only artist making this kind of deliberately low grade art. You can also see his work at the recently reopened new Museum of Contemporary Art. Where he is showing work along side Tom Burr who takes text and image and puts them on folding screens and Kelly Walker who radically degrades his images.
The creators of that show argue that the sense of permanence and solidity associated say with stone and bronze sculpture has now completely disappeared after events like the destruction of the Twin Towers and the infamous top link of Saddam Statue in Baghdad. In its spirit and its crappies esthetic, Buche sculpture also recalls Mark Wallinger’s replica of a protestor’s camp which just won him the 2007 Turner Price.
Looking like an information board at a peace camp may make this sculpture the perfect foil to slickly produced artwork. But it is so blend and low key that is this is a protest it is a pretty reluctant one. The pieces do not take a position on anything. There is more than a tinge of interested adolescent male subjects like deformity, violence, anti-social behavior and rebellion. That in the obscurity of some of these references could make this work a little self-indulgent.
But interpreted as an endlessly changeable portrait, maybe a self portrait drawn from images Buche has saved over the years. This sculpture finds it niche. It suggests that each of us carries around a pretty unglamorous collection of images, remember that Anne forgotten from which we make up our versions of reality.