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” and subsequently stored at the Daimler-Benz AG factory premises in Sindelfingen. Since the conversion of the warehouses, the sculptures can no longer be located and all that remains are the photographs as documentation of this early creative period.


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