Since the early 1980s, Susanne Kessler (b. Wuppertal, Germany, 1955; lives and works in Berlin and Rome) has sought new ways to lend sculptural depth to painting and drawing. She sets up complex site-specific installations in interior as well as exterior settings where, for a limited time, they are meant to communicate with human viewers as well as their environments. The delicate and tenuous constructions, which often derive from graphical creations, assimilate to a wide variety of contexts, braving sun, wind, and rain and absorbing their influence. Such fragility and mutability, the artist believes, are the only genuine expressions of vigor, resilience, and life. Kessler first rose to renown in the late 1980s with her carousel and wing constructions, seemingly weightless painted cutouts she suspended from rotating scaffolds and colorful streamers stretched over aluminum poles that conquered space. Kessler’s “Nomad Projects” and her “Suitcase Installations” have traveled around the world. The pieces “Tent,” “Survival Kit,” “Only to Vanish Once More,” and “Room of Evolution” were conspicuous interventions at sites of crisis. This book offers a retrospective survey of Susanne Kessler’s oeuvre, presenting her most important sculptures and installations from the past thirty years.
Achille Bonito Oliva has contributed an art-historical sketch complemented by a conversation between Kessler and Bonito Oliva. Her longtime friends Vincenzo Mazzarella and Johannes Nathan have penned a story and a letter to accompany her work.