bits and pieces
Standard household or everyday objects, found pieces rescued from the detritus of civilization, in Rolf Sellmann’s bits and pieces they serve as the raw material for objects that are assembled using virtually countless individual elements and at the same time seem to be of one piece.
Unlike many examples from the sculpture category of objets trouvés, Sellmann’s works are not chaotic assemblages. Each particle-structure is carefully composed. With a virtually scientific exactitude, for example, in his large wall object Vielfalt(er), the artist fished out crumbled up, discarded tickets from trash cans, folded them individually like origami, and arranged them in a showcase in an orderly fashion on top of and alongside one another. The title refers to the manifold quality of the forms—and at the same time to the traditional presentation of insect collections.
Like the wall trophies of dried specimen, safety pins refer to a sphere in which everything is perfectly arranged and seems to be under absolute control. But as we know, appearances can be deceiving. And so it is not without irony that Rolf Sellmann in his ambiguous wall object safe?, consisting of many safety pins, questions this very sense of deceptive security.
That mass (the individual elements) and class (art) do not exclude one another is also shown by the sculpture tower: 8000 safety pins form a tower that has something foreboding about it. Surprising that this mass of safety pins, as individual exemplars paragons of harmless everydayness—can form such a martial, virtually weapon-defying shell.
Inside the tower, Sellmann has placed a photograph that shows his father in a Hitler Youth uniform. The image and various medals that the father gathered during the Second World War are spread out on broken shards of glass. They stand for the indoctrination with which totalitarian regimes seek to break down individual personalities.