Olaf Metzel (born in 1952 in Berlin, Germany) is no stranger to controversy. After abandoning figural work in the early 80s, the artist rose to fame in 1987 following the installation of his sculpture 13.4.27 on Berlin's Kurfürstendamm. Consisting of a tower of piled-up police barriers, the name of the public installation references the date on which violent protests erupted in Germany. The Berlin Senate promptly dismantled the… Read more
About the artwork
Metzel's interest and use of gestural vandalism in his works dates back to the 70s when, during the German Autumn, policemen raided several art studios at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. Metzel's studio was among them. After this event his aesthetic language drastically shifted incorporating the aggression and frustration into subsequent works. His aluminum works—folded, crumpled, and bent like discarded newspaper—show enlarged and thematically grouped clippings printed on metal. The result is a physical lightness that is at odds with the antagonism of the material. The gesture is one of protest, abandon, and pointed social criticism.