Michael Sailstorfer

  • CV
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Born in Velden in 1979. Lives and works in Berlin.


Michael Sailstorfer, born in Velden, Germany in 1979, is one of the most active and creative artists of the younger generation in Germany today. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and completed his master’s degree at Goldsmith College in London.


The artistic practice of Michael Sailstorfer encompasses various media, including sculpture, site-specific installation, art in public places, and video. The essence of his art is based on transformation, which is simultaneously a source of inspiration, a creative process, and an intention. He prefers to work with everyday objects and materials, deconstructing and rearranging these, robbing them of their original function and context, and at the same time creating works that question classical concepts of sculpture and space, thus providing new possibilities for interpretation in an altered environment.

A conventional rubber hose is tied in knots to form a cloud, which hangs seemingly weightlessly from the ceiling of the exhibition space. Time Is not a Motorway is an installation comprised of a rotating tyre, which wears itself down as it grinds against a wall. The loud and smelly installation recalls the futile work of Sisyphus. It may seem absurd, yet it offers the viewer the possibility to rethink time and space. WithBurner, the artist converts an automobile into a furnace; the overall perception of the work is thus complemented by the spreading warmth and the ascending smell of the burning wood. Here, it becomes clear that Sailstorfer does not understand space and sculpture from a purely material perspective. Instead, he invites the viewer to experience his work both emotionally and physically by complementing its physical materiality with sounds, smells, and movements, thus creating an impressive spatial presence that goes far beyond the merely visible.

Through Sailstorfer’s process of assemblage, the industrial character and roughness of the materials used, such as hoses, tyres, concrete, and car bodies, are given an almost melancholic, poetic note. The tension between the potential of deconstruction and reorganisation, and thus between the failure and hope of his art, not only makes the viewer smirk, but also allows him to think beyond the limits of the possible. In this sense, his works are also an attempt to shed new light on the viewer’s understanding of both art and art spaces.