CV Thomas Rentmeister (*1964) studied with Günther Uecker and Alfonso Hüppi at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. In 1996 he received a working scholarship from the Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn and in 1988 the Philip Morris Scholarship in Berlin. Teaching assignments brought him to the Kunsthochschule Kassel, the UDK Berlin and the Kunsthochschule Weißensee in Berlin. Since 2007 Rentmeister has been Professor of Sculpture at the HBK Braunschweig. Thomas Rentmeister lives in Berlin.
Thomas Rentmeister's Zuckerdüne, an unapologetic critique of our consumer culture, is one of the artist's most frequently shown works and known to many gallerygoers. Created in 2007, the exhibition consequently places focus on this particular work to make its current relevance clear. Mass production and excessive consumption – as we are currently experiencing in the form of panic buying and hoarding – are continually negotiated themes in Rentmeister's sculptures. Beyond that, further levels of interpretation open up. The white surface of the large sugar dune functions as a surface of imagination. The artist leaves the viewer to their fantasies. Associations of wastefulness; kitsch and crystal; immaculateness; irony; light, the taste of too much sweetness; disgust; transience; stability and instability are awakened. The self-reflection of one's own consumer behaviour might also take place, but is not necessarily intended. Before food became a material of focus, the artist was known in the 90s for his reflective polyester sculptures. At the Cologne Art Fair in 1999, he used Nutella as a material for the first time and painted wall-mounted shelves with the popular chocolate spread. With this, he transforms furniture into sculpture, defying conventional function and perception. This extended concept of sculpture is also found in the Zuckerdüne; the boundaries of sculpture are also negotiated here with seven tons of sugar. Rentmeister's art moves between Minimal and Pop Art, and with very humorous, individual sensibilities. The use of industrially manufactured products, like Nutella, chips, and face cream inspired art historian Ursula Panhans-Bühler to coin the term "impure minimalism" when describing his art.
Text: Barbara Green, Photo: Meike Kenn