Joachim Bandau
Untitled (Cabin Mobiles), 1973/2015

Joachim Bandau initially studied graphic art at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and subsequently continued his artistic activity as a sculptor. In the context of a work scholarship from the cultural section of the Federation of German Industries, he produced five kinetic sheet steel sculptures paraphrasing human postures in the Sindelfingen plant of Daimler-Benz AG along with the apprentices: Mit ausgestreckten Beinen sitzend zu fahren [To travel sitting with stretched out legs] (120 x 70 x 14 cm), Sitzend zu fahren [To travel sitting] (155 x 70 x 110 cm), Kniend zu fahren [To travel kneeling] (157 x 70 x 110 cm), Zurückgelehnt stehend zu fahren [To travel standing reclined] (215 x 70 x 110 cm) and Stehend zu fahren [To travel standing] (208 x 70 x 110 cm). The photographs document the sculptures’ first test drives. The sculptures are equipped with two steering wheels, two rear wheels, a drive wheel, a windscreen wiper motor and an observation slit. Controlled remotely, the mobiles roll at 600m/hour and automatically change the direction of travel upon impact. In conceptualizing the technical implementation as far removed from functional rationality, Bandau reduces the automobile as a means of transport to absurdity. He questions the mechanization of humans in a dystopic manner, something that is once again a focal point of debate against the backdrop of current developments. In terms of formal aesthetics, the mobiles can be received between the poles of diverse movements: The artistic engagement with technical questions ties in with the intentions of the Futurist movement; as kinetic sculptures they open up new space for sculpture in that they no longer refer solely to formal questions intrinsic to the work; the cool and distanced effect and the clear stylistic idiom of the objects are reminiscient of the works of Minimal Art, however Bandau emphasizes content-related aspects and messages over formal and aesthetic questions. In 1977, the cabin models were exhibited during the documenta 6 in Kassel in the section “Vehicles – Utopian Design”. The photographs that Bandau took during the creation process have been part of the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection since 2016 and document the project.

Joachim Bandau

* 1936 Cologne, D
Lives and works in Aachen and Sträfa, D/CH

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