Thorben Gröbel
996 Stool

2 December 2023 20 January 2024


Thorben Gröbel

Hôtel Danckaert, Rue Meyerbeer 33, Brussels (BE)

Post-performative consists of a series of furniture pieces and objects that are based on car parts sourced from the secondary market. In order for these existing elements to be transformed into objects of their own right, they are cleaned and freed from any adherent equipment, like seatbelt holders, plastic covers, or levers. Exposed to their core and entirely stripped off their former functionality, the parts now present themselves in a fragile state covered with openings and holes. These wounds become the foundation for newly designed structures, which carry and care for the existing while transforming them into something else.
“I never had the desire to own a car, nor have I ever been particularly enthusiastic about them. However, I grew up in Germany and that makes it very difficult to ignore them. They are everywhere, on the streets, in a huge part of the economy, in politics, in people’s minds and in their value system. You grow up thinking that the biggest achievement in life must be to possess a Porsche. So it is no wonder that people are willing to spend a lot of money on their vehicles. As a result massive amounts of energy and resources are invested in producing desirable and sought-after products. There do not seem to be any boundaries in order to achieve this goal, leading to the German Autobahn still being without a speed limit thanks to the automobile lobby, and rain forests keep being chopped down in order to establish cattle farms to produce leather.”
Yet, if you are able to zoom out of all these obvious problematics you are facing a highly aestheticised object, which consists of countless individual parts that have been developed by a team of various experts and have been produced with an extremely sophisticated knowledge of craft and the means of the newest technology available.
All of these parts produce a closed system, the car. Sometimes this system is faced with difficulties when one of the elements stops performing in the way it is supposed to. It then needs to be repaired, or replaced by a new one. Sometimes, as in a big crash for example, too many parts are broken in order for the whole, the car, to get fixed again. In that case all the other parts of that system become redundant and useless. They enter a post-performative state, losing their singular purpose they have been created for. Once being part of an extremely precious whole, their value as an individual part is now reduced to their material existence.
“I find this abandoned material fascinating and try to imagine how it can come to a new life again. One that is removed from the pressure to constantly perform, represent and compensate for the lack of something else.”