For Foul Matters, Altmann has created a new body of sculptures, continuing his ongoing material excavation into the infrastructural ‘guts’ of urban spaces.
Altmann frequently works with concrete, as well as construction debris such as pipes and wires to create rough-hewn architectural miniatures, nested with household objects relating to the management of order in human bodies – hygiene, sanitation, waste management. Fitted with peepholes and pinhole cameras for peering inside at the tiny rooms within, Altmann’s contrast of interior and exterior narrates a voyeuristic intimacy focused on the banal. At Swiss Institute, as though pulling out the insides of a building, Altmann has extracted formal interior elements from former works, mounting models made of domestic objects, trash, building supplies and dollhouse furniture on the wall, where they stand open without a protective enclosure.
Facing off with the miniatures, Altmann has furnished the gallery with domestic waste he obtained during his installation period in New York. These various examples of discarded furnitures have been covered with the exoskeletons of thousands of mealworms that function as stagnant, occupying vessels. The objects doubtless host multiple microorganisms carried from their former homes whether they appeared to be clean or not. Here, these hollow, diminutive architectural body casings inform a discursive motif: stripped out shells with no insides.
Mathis Altmann: Foul Matters is the eighth exhibition in the ONE FOR ALL series at SI. Building on Swiss Institute’s long history of providing a platform for emerging artists, each show will be the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in the United States, with a newly commissioned body of work specifically created for the exhibition space.