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The artist Björn Dahlem (born 1974, lives and works in Berlin) represents the modern type of sculptor. His sculptural creations are rooted not in stability but in what is fragile—for fragility, Dahlem believes, is the defining condition of human knowledge. Profoundly knowledgeable about intellectual and cultural history (including the history of popular culture), Dahlem transposes complex issues, primarily of astrophysics and philosophy, into the field of art. His sculptures and installations—most of them are made of mundane materials from the home improvement store—begin where certain knowledge reaches its limits. In forever new variations, they translate the great mysteries of mankind, from the genesis of the universe to the human condition, into a unique artistic language, allowing the beholder to grasp and experience these outer reaches of human insight not least by virtue of their inherent humor. The use of illuminants such as incandescent lamps and fluorescent tubes is emblematic, as it were, of the enlightenment these precisely conceived works hope to spread.
After completing his studies in sculpture under Professor Hubert Kiecol at the Düsseldorf Academy of Arts (1994–2000), Björn Dahlem has presented his works in numerous solo and group exhibitions both in Germany and abroad. He is also the recipient of various art awards, has won art contests, and has taught as a visiting professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg, and the State Academy of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe.
This publication presents works from the exhibition Die Theorie des Himmels I – Die Milchstraße conceived for the Quadriennale Düsseldorf, as well as a selection from the oeuvre with a focus on large-scale sculptures and space installations from the past five years. It also includes essays by Anne Ellegood, Pablo Florés, Dominikus Müller, and Gertrud Peters.