Ringwear Plain Cover
Burchard Vossmann

5th – 21st June 2015

Opening reception: Thursday 4th June 2015


Campbell Works is delighted to present the first solo exhibition in London of recent works by Berlin based artist Burchard Vossmann.

Vossmann’s artistic practice employs the roles of collector, archivist and researcher of everyday ephemera, who, for over 30 years, has been collating the objects that the rest of us throw away. From matchbox’s, tickets, lighters, cigarette packets, bottle tops to sweet wrappers, their primary use over, these discarded items become in the hands of the artist re-imagined graphic components in the ever-expanding universe of his new visual lexicon.

Through the late 80’s and 90’s Vossmann walked the streets of dozens of global cities including London, Berlin, Moscow, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Beijing, scouring the pavements for new materials. To accompany him on one of his ‘City Walks ‘ was not only an education in the transience of civilization, but also to see the world through his ‘magpie’ eyes engendered a deep respect for the rarefied aesthetics of the gutter.

Vossmann creates highly structured artworks that synthesize the elements into works that hint towards their tangible origins and histories. In his working process Vossmann has utilized the office shredder to shred a huge range of materials from thousands of pounds worth of de regulated German deutschmarks, newspapers, magazines to British postage stamps including hundreds of Penny Blacks. This finely shredded material is then painstaking glued back together in new ‘mis-registered’ aligned panels creating exquisite tapestries of colour. However, the abstract quality of his work conceals Vossmann’s deeper fascination, that of the subtext of ‘power systems’ at play within simple disposable objects such as packaging, tickets, stamps, etc. His work seeks to expose these relationships and our attachment and unconscious understandings of these systems through a reduction of the material to a purely formal aspect, the works drawing us in by their inherent aesthetic aspects.

For Ringwear Plain Cover, Vossmann has extended his oeuvre yet further, to work with record covers and their inner sleeves, the ‘ringwear cover’. Renown in Berlin for his meticulous collecting, he was offered the entire collection of records from the legendary Berlin nightclub, Dschungle (The Jungle Club): which began in the heady days of 1978, was sung about by David Bowie in ‘Where are we now?’ and which finally closed its doors in 1993.  

Following a critically acclaimed show at the Gas Station gallery in Berlin in 2014, Vossmann will present a selection of works in London, that honor both the legacy of this infamous nightclub, and the contribution of the celebrity role call of Dj’s that handled and played the clubs ‘resident’ record collection.

The works themselves are unnervingly simple, the plain unadorned sleeves arranged in grids adopt a monumental minimalism that hint towards Donald Judd or Carl Andre, but Vossmann utilizes the faded tones, the center holes and shadowy marks left by the once present vinyl’s they used to protect, to remind us again that everything passes. The club, the records, the DJs, all now silent; it is only the cardboard, cellophane and haptic resonance of this ephemera that remains. Alongside these large wall pieces are smaller works, made from single record sleeves, many very well known, which like the postage stamps and deutschmarks, have been processed through an office shredder and reconstructed into new abstract form. The resulting woks are simultaneously recognizable to those who know and love these original covers, while remaining aesthetically esoteric to those who have no idea from what record the work originates.

Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground featuring Nico, “Shredded Covers”, 2014, shredded cover on wood. 31,5 x 31,5 x 1,4 cm

Ringwear Plain Cover – White, 2014, 157,5 x 157,5 cm

Burchard Vossmann was born in 1954 in Garrel, Oldenburg, Germany and has lived and worked in Berlin since 1982. After graduating from Fachhochschule Hildesheim with a diploma in graphic design he worked for many years to support his artistic practice as a graphic designer, developing his interest and sensibility for labels and brands that has so heavily influenced his work.

In 1993 he received a scholarship from Stiftung Kulturfonds in Berlin for a European City Walks project that took him to 6 European cities with fellow artist Stefan Nestler collecting materials for new bodies of work. This was followed by ‘City Walks’ in many Asian and North American Cities, through the late nineties.

Since 2001 Vossmann extended his collecting by searching the Internet for ephemera and materials that were becoming rarer and harder to find in any large quantities on the ever-increasing cleaner streets of Europe. With the arrival of eBay in 1995 these opportunities radically increase, both in volume and diversity of materials, which unleashed a new scale of ambition for Vossmann’s work and the meticulous process of sorting, numbering and storing these new material. The artists Berlin studio is an extraordinary place of order and fascination from which emerges these incredible poetic works.

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