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Thomas Schutte at the Serpentine Gallery.

Thomas Schutte, the German artist, is arguably one of the best figurative artists that are working in the modern Europe art scene. In Britain figurative art is a very lively scene but no one has managed to take the world of intimate drawing and monumental sculpture and make it as personal as Schutte has been able to do. Both types of work by Schutte will be on display at an exhibition at Serpentine Gallery.

Before you even walk into the gallery however you will see two of his sculptures in the Kensington Gardens gallery on full display. Here you will find two sculptures from the 2011 Untitled Enemies series as double figures stand entwined in what appears to be agony. The bodies are held up by tripod legs and almost appear to be bodiless although you can clearly see the heads are turned away from each other. Even in metal you can see tension in the faces which is what makes them so special.

You can see the same human qualities in non-human materials in the centerpiece of the inside show called the Vatar Staat. The figure inside stands about four metres tall and has stunningly chiseled features that resemble a dictator from Central Asia or North Africa. The only thing rusting on the sculpture is the steel and if you circle around it then it will seem as if the gown sites without a body underneath shoulders held on by nothing.

Viewers will be intrigued and terrified at the same time, but that is basically what Schutte intends to do with everything that he creates, and he does it very well. For an unnerving but strikingly human show, the Kensington Gallery is worth spending a few hours at.

 

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