Joachim Bandau at Super Dakota / Brussels, Belgium

Bandau / Le Théâtre des Formes

January – 24 February 2018


Rue Washington


all art is the result of one’s having been in danger, of having
gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can
go any further.”     

– Rainer Maria Rilke


Bandau was a fresh graduate from the Kunstakademie of Düsseldorf in
the sixties. The same school that produced acclaimed students such as
Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter or Imi Knoebel. This great generation
of artists emerged from post-war Germany and it would be diffi­cult
to comprehend art made at the time without grasping the historical

these troubled times, an important aspect of the effort of rebuilding
was the wakening of consumerism. Designed household objects be­came
popular, products and advertising were at the crux of the society.
This inspired Joachim’s first acclaimed body of works, monster like
pie­ces, half-human half-machines. They had body parts as well as
tubes, reservoirs, wheels, mechanic parts. They possessed a
Kubrickian quality, I imagined them animated, dancing in a formidable
spectacle orchestrated by the artist. An artist turned alchemist and
designer in his studio, giving life to these objects, melting them in
different shapes, with different sizes, materials and colours.
Nonetheless this corpus was seminal at the time, and behind the
surrealist nature of the works was a quintessential comment on the
current turn of events.

that, Joachim created the landscape for these creatures. In the late
70’s, his drawings became more radical, they represented bunkers
scattered in the post-war topography. The sketches quickly turned
into sculptures made of steel, lead, copper, they felt radical and
conveyed strength. They looked like walls, like boxes, like pyramids.
They were heavy, immovable or meant to be disassembled. Playful and
beautiful, they became everything a bunker isn’t suppose to be. His
installations resembled scattered metal parts after an explosion, and
while it may have seemed chaotic it was orchestrated with precision.
It might have echoed the then German scenery, a sublimation of the
remnants from the war, where the brutalist aesthetic under the
conduct of the artist metamorphosed into an understanding of plan,
space and time. The works are also marked by their intense
relationships of interlocked and condensed interior and exterior
spaces. They stand as they are for the effect of their shapes, their
materials or their colours, they are activated from the triangulation
of experience achieved through the architectural space, the work and
the viewer.

the post-modern visual aspect of his sculptures, the watercolours
consist of layers of washes, creating fragile, transparent
con­structions. Started in the eighties, the basis for this
dreamy compositions is the development of different systems of image
creation. The paint is delicately applied with control, while every
new surface is a response to the previous one. They are intuitive
arrangements and while each field is autonomous and individual,
together they create a deep networks of plans infused with rigour and

says about the watercolours: “Comprehension for this complex
pictorial structure leads one to a suggested, sometimes impossible to
totally fathom, spatial depth – a changing spatial depth in which
the eye is seemingly lost, depending on the angle from which I am
viewing the work of the side from which I enter the image.”

recently, and in an uninterrupted effort to reduce the form, Bandau
developed the lacquer work. The pieces are made of single or
plu­ri-coated surfaces of relatively simple shapes of natural
black or red colour. Despite their positioning on the wall, they
never look static. They tilt, bend, overlay or shift, sometimes
almost imperceptibly, enhanced by the reflection of the light on the
shiny surface. They dance around the walls casting stark shadows of
indiscernible masses, their contours dissolving onto the negative
spaces. The viewer’s perception once again remains essential to the
completion of the work as our experience allows these floating
sculptures to become concrete objects.

des Formes explores the diversity of Joachim Bandau’s work.
Spanning through six decades, he created pieces in resonance with his
environment. Looking back at these fantastic works, one can see the
intentions of an artist enthralled by pure aesthetic researches at
critical times. The works are silent witnesses of a post-war ethos.
Be they hybrid or minimalist, they all seem to move in an
indescribable play directed by a maestro of form, space and time. 

des formes is the second personal exhibition of Joachim Bandau at
Super Dakota.

Bandau was one of the founders of the group K66. Selected exhibitions
include Museum Ludwig (Cologne), Neues Museum (Nürn­berg), M HKA
(Antwerp), Sculpture Center (New York), Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin),
De Young Museum (San Francisco), Palais des Be­aux-Arts
(Brussels), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Städtlische Kunsthalle
(Mannheim), Fine Art Museum (Budapest)… Bandau’s works are
present in public collections around the world such as Centre
Pompidou (Paris), Kunstmuseum (Basel), Ludwig Museum (Cologne), Fine
Arts Museum of San Francisco.

Damîen Bertelle-Rogier