Today we spotlight another work from Rudolf Bott’s current show ‚plus quam…‘ by explaining his aluminium sand casting process.
One of the large table pieces is a visually stunning table. Made of aluminium, its delicate details are actually a celebration of the process itself. To not bore you with a load of technical information, here is a simple explanation. Sand casting starts with a pattern of the object, pressed into a sand mixture to form the mould, into which the hot liquid aluminium is poured. Then as the metal cools inside and hardens, the surrounding sand can be broken off. Then the aluminium piece is left.
Bott created a table shape in the sand, as well as a network of tubes to fill in the shape. Then the usual next step is to remove all the unwanted pipes, sand off the marks left by sand, for a polished final product. But the artist chose to leave all the evidence behind. The cone shape entrances at the bottom remain, as do the veins of aluminium feeding into the legs, and the spiky trails along the surface of the table.
These remnants of the processes are usually discarded, but actually have their own beauty. To underscore this, we display it in the exhibition against the window that looks out to snowy landscape. This perspective really shows how the bare branches echo the shapes of the table. Not only were these parts a necessity to create the table in the first place, they also have simple aesthetic value.
In an earlier interview with Bott (see it here), the artist discusses how nowadays we have the technology to do anything. This convenience leads to a numbness, and mindless overconsumption. Regular consumers hardly ever think about the process behind it, and the purpose of things. This table brings to question multiple questions on those topics. How many people knew this is how aluminium pieces are made? And what is the purpose of this table? Is it just for display or for use? When you buy it as a piece of art, will you have dinners on it? This table makes it difficult with the spikes on the surface, does it make it less of a table? Does it make it more of an art piece? Does utility take away from an object’s artistic value? For the artist, each of his object is only successful if it fulfils its destiny. And yet many of his collectors display them on pedestals and cases because the objects are considered art. Is there even a need for differentiating between art and utilitarian object?
Rudolf Bott is one of the most outstanding German silversmiths of his generation and the recipient of many prestigious awards. He initially trained as a goldsmith in the workshop of G.A. Korff of Hanau from 1972 and studied at The National Design Academy, Hanau in 1978, and at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in 1983 under the tutelage of Prof. Hermann Jünger from 1993-89. In between he worked in the studios of Hermann Kunkler in Raesfeld, Max Pollinger in Munich Giampaolo Babetto in Aqua Petrarca, Italy before setting up his own workshop in 1989. Now working independently, Bott creates conceptually complex and philosophical works that straddle fine art and craft from his workshop in the countryside of Bavaria, Germany.