German artist Thomas Schütte’s work varies widely in medium, form, scale, and approach. He incorporates multiple aspects of artistic innovations from the 1960s, such as Arte Povera’s use of conventional materials, Minimalism’s formal aesthetic, and Pop Art’s use of banal images from daily life. Combining an obsessive focus on sculptural technique with an equally intense skepticism of the geopolitical state of the postwar world, Schütte’s sculptures contemplate the tribulations of the contemporary human condition.
This piece is from a body of work entitled United Enemies, in which Schütte manipulated fimo clay into a series of grotesque figures that represent debased archetypes of power. Displayed upon a cardboard packing tube, the emblematic figures are bound together and trapped under a bell jar, invoking specimen inspection.