Exhibition view enter the new Produzentengalerie Hamburg, 2017
Photo: Helge Mundt
Olaf Metzel's (*1952 ) sculptural works often deal with history in a socio-critical way and seek to engage with the viewer and his social, urban and socio-political environment. In the 1980s the documenta 8 participant began to take up themes from the press and print media in his works.
Since 2010, Metzel's oevre has been dominated by wall works made of printed aluminium plates, which he manually shapes into sculptures. Thematically, these wall sculptures deal with socially relevant topics, which dominated the media landscape for a while, as well as media portraits of famous personalities from the popular and entertainment industry and the cultural sector. He takes a similar approach with Samuel Beckett, who has been subject in several works in recent years. The work "Samuel Beckett als Student" (2019) shows a page from a Beckett biography and depicts Metzel's personal appropriation of the portrayed writer. The work refers to Beckett's visit to Hamburg in 1936. During a trip to Germany, the writer spent some time in the Hanseatic city, where he became interested in the art collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle and asked to see works from the depot for study purposes. Letters in the Kunsthalle archive bear witness to this correspondence. Documents such as these, guarded like treasures by historians, are used by Metzel not as an act of disdain or ironic distancing, but rather of personal appropriation and appreciation of the person and the artist Samuel Beckett.
Metzel, who held a professorship for sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in München from 1990 to 2019, has been honored with the Villa Massimo Prize, the Lichtwark Prize and the mfi Prize for Art in Architecture. His works have been on display at the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Kunsthalle Wien, the Neue Pinakothek, Munich, the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, as well as the Witte de With, Rotterdam and the Museum of Art Ein Harod, Israel, among others.