Christian Friedrich

2012 FutureGreat, selected by Willem de Rooij

Christian Friedrich, The Origin of Man, 2008–9. Courtesy the artist

German artist Christian Friedrich studied Protestant theology and philosophy at Heidelberg University and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe before moving to Amsterdam in 2007 for a two-year residency at De Ateliers. It was there that Friedrich decided to take his analytical artistic methodology apart, and to make space in his practice for more intuitive trajectories and psychological themes. Without shying away from elements of kitsch and dubious taste, his work gained complexity and depth. His sculptural works evolved to become monumental forms – plaster-cast sofas or ceramic tableaux depicting fruits and erotic tools, reminiscent of Franz West as much as John Miller. At the same time Friedrich began to stage performances in his studio, using his sculptures, himself and various collaborators as props. The video documentations of these performances became, in turn, autonomous works.

Friedrich’s latest works are films that no longer refer to sculptural elements outside the screen. Untitled (2011) juxtaposes appropriated images of the earth as seen from a satellite with footage of a young man playing in the surf. The artist’s almost sculptural edit, reversing and cross-cutting both image and sound to sometimes stroboscopic effect, is as brutal as it is controlled. The viewer is touched on an emotional, an intellectual and a physical level. This year Friedrich has a solo show with Wilfried Lentz in Rotterdam, who will also show his work at Liste in Basel in June.

This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue.