Stephan von Huene | 1985 – 1992
The complete work of Stephan von Huene: kinetic and sound sculptures, sculptures, assemblages, drawings
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1985 – 1992

Whereas in earlier years, i.e. in the interactive sound installation Text Tones, not just spoken language was absorbed, but instead all other ambient sounds as well (for example the visitors’ footsteps, clapping, and nonverbal vocalizations), von Huene’s focus beginning in the mid-1980s was primarily on reflections of verbal and body language and the extension of correspondences between the various visual media. Linguistic decay and a redefinition of the linguistic characters of human expression are thematized in Expanded Schwitters, a reference to Kurt Schwitters, the Dadaist and poet of speech sounds, and Lexichaos, a space filling installation which decomposes the alphabet into its component elements, a vivid demonstration of the history of Babylonian linguistic confusion.

Beginning around 1985, von Huene moved freely between the fabrication of sculpturally conceived figural automatons and spatial installations using a variety of visual media. He arrived at a synthesis of these disparate artistic conceptions, of sculpture and installation, in Dancing on Tables, his most technically and spatially elaborate work, today at the ZKM in Karlsruhe. Four automatons sculptures and 14 large format drawings constitute a computer-guided ‘stage play’ whose texts are drawn from speeches by leading US-American politicians, while on the other hand, exhibition visitors are confronted with themselves in a humorous yet insistent fashion.