Munich-born and Berlin-based artist Florian Baudrexel works with a unique visual language, utilising ephemeral or waste materials to play with space and form. Baudrexel is institutionally recognised with works held in major public collections.Read More
Studying at the Academy of Arts Düsseldorf from 1991 to 1997, Florian Baudrexel went on to build his distinctive style, combining tropes from early 20th-century constructivism and post-minimalism in a practice rooted in resourcefulness. Typically taking bold and imposing forms, his artworks were often wall mounted although, with time, he increasingly embraced free-standing sculpture.
Placing him firmly at the leading edge of progressive contemporary art, he began specialising in the use of artificial urban materials from old billboards to aluminium sheets. Gradually, the artist became enamoured by cardboard, a material that now characterises some of his most recognised work.
Baudrexel sits at the intersection of sculpture, architecture, and a wall-based practice, using his deftly constructed works to evoke a sense of motion and direction. He calls into question the strict boundaries between purist formation and expressive composition, positioning himself in both categories.
Austere Compositions While Baudrexel was building his artistic vocabulary, he experimented with a harsher body of work, defined by its streamlined aesthetic and pared-back material construction. Spannungsbild (2008), for example, is a canvas-on-wood work, trapezium-shaped, with a single fault line that adds dimension. Angular and cold, it chimes with a previous work, Untitled (1995), made from a folded aluminium sheet mounted horizontally. Together, they show Baudrexel trialling restraint and relief as aesthetic tools; ones that he would continue to use in years to come.
As Baudrexel distilled his vision, a fascination with salvaging refuse became a perennial code. Rendering his works from old advertisements, magazine paper, packaging and disused cards, the artist is a stalwart of ecologically focused art-making methods. Inspired by the geometric abstraction of avant-garde constructivism, he sharpened, collaged, or contorted his materials, forming two- and three-dimensional works reliant on either jutting shapes or playful interactions of image and colour.
Eurospin (2012), a small collage made from old magazine pages that is intricately layered to build a photographic yet abstract depiction of technological hardware, is a case in point. For Have A (2010), Baudrexel applied collaged billboard paper directly to a building's facade, offering passers-by a taste of his cubist forms.
Early into his career, Baudrexel began working with cardboard and other pliable materials, like polystyrene. Eventually, they became an integral part of his practice. What began as flatter works developed into immersive, confrontational sculptures and wall-mounted reliefs that sit in juxtaposition to the sterile confines of a white-cube gallery.
One exemplary body of work is 'Cardbirds' (2021), a series of figurative sculptures that twist and meticulously freeze branded cardboard boxes in bird-like forms. The small, model-size creations are similar to the designs used in architectural planning, making a potent contrast to Baudrexel's larger works like the wall-mounted Lely (2020) or freestanding Reclining Figure (2017). The latter two works are built with colourless and lacquered cardboard unlike the 'Cardbirds' series, whose colour derives directly from the constituent material.
Florian Baudrexel has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.
Solo exhibitions include: Cardbirds, Linn Lühn, Düsseldorf (2010); Florian Baudrexel, Cussler, Berlin (2010); Georgica, Lullin + Ferrari, Zurich (2009); and Spam, Ausstellungsraum Kölner Straße, Düsseldorf (2000).
Group exhibitions include: Rally, The Glovebox, Dublin (2022); Subconchicness, Ballhaus Ost, Berlin (2008); and Glut, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (1998).
Joe Bobowicz | Ocula | 2023