Thomas Rentmeister

With its monolithic and erratic appearance, the object assembly Taint created by the sculptor and installation artist Thomas Rentmeister transfixes the visitor’s roving gaze as it wanders around the exhibition space, stopping it in its tracks. A large number of refrigerators, individualised with signs of use and material erosion, are stacked to form a solid wall. One side presents their whitish fronts with their typical handles, evoking expectant memories of a tasteful kitchen interior in the home. The other side, however – and for Rentmeister this is the actual front of his work – displays the devices’ power units, which in everyday use are mostly hidden, and their black cooling loops and pump housings, which give out a hum of iridescent energy when the appliances are switched on. Remnants of construction foam indicate where the cladding used to be before it was torn off with brute force, exposing the black meandering coils in which CFCs once circulated, the substance responsible for triggering the first stage of climate change. The viewer is confronted with a monumental battle scene made up of industrial products that have been carefully covered with an oily skin cream, as if healing and restoration could still occur. Rentmeister’s installation shifts the aseptic whiteness of the organic “kitchen” sector into the helpless whitewash of Western mythologised commodities. Their bare surfaces, from which every trace of the processes of production, use and disposal has been carefully removed during their lifespan, are transformed in their afterlife into stained, brittle, hopelessly yellowed hulks of what they once were. Rentmeister retrieves what we have been led to forget, prompts a reunion with what we had hoped was gone and asks burning questions about the future of these objects.

Ulrike Pennewitz


In the exhibition:

Thomas Rentmeister
Taint, 2021
Refrigerator and other materials
Courtesy of the artist + Galerie Tobias Nehring, Leipzig


Additional information about the artist