Sandra Erbacherʼs latest works examine the institutional as an abstract, formless, and bureaucratic entity. The objects incorporated in her work, whether photographic or sculptural in form are typically found within an institutional setting: an ordinary office plant, cream-coloured carpeting, a standard beige box fan, or a uniform, avocado green wall-mounted telephone. The sole purpose of the existence of these objects seems to be to organize human activity, to maximize efficiency, maintain order and thus aid in the imposition of a rule-based hierarchical system of rational control.
What happens though, if said objects refuse to conform to their standard mode of operation? This is the question at the heart of Erbacherʼs inquiry. Her objects are activated through material interventions and, as a result, display a rebelliousness that could potentially pose a threat to the institutional order: A carpet covering a gallery wall with an anarchy symbol shaved into its fibres; a larger-than-life photograph of a small box fan filled with concrete; and an HVAC system that emits a muffled version of Roxetteʼs ʻDangerous’. Instead of promoting an efficient work-flow, Erbacherʼs objects are unruly. They break down, become dysfunctional and fail to fulfil their purpose. Yet it is exactly their failure that holds their potential to subvert the systems and structures they are supposed to perpetuate from within.
Sandra Erbacher is a German artist living and working in Providence, RI. She has earned her BFA from Camberwell College of Art, London (2009) and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2014).
Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, the Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Mana Contemporary Chicago, Circuit 12 Contemporary, Dallas, The Contemporary, London, Kunstverein Speyer, Germany, Umbrella Gallery, Leeds, and Five Years, London. She is the recipient of the 2014 Chazen Prize to an Outstanding MFA Student, a University of Wisconsin fellowship and the Blink Grant for Public Art 2013 awarded by the city of Madison.
New American Paintings #122, Juror Sarah Montross, New American Paintings 2016
Strange Times at Spring/Break: 5 Must-See Booths at New York's Coolest Art Fair, Dylan Kerr, Artspace, 2016
See It Before It’s Gone: 'Besides' at GRIN Providence, Alexander Castro, Big Red & Shiny 2016
Key to Erbacher is interactivity, by Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, 2015
Office Space: Sandra Erbacher’s Institutional Critique Takes Aim at Modern Bureaucracies, Heather Corcoran, Artsy Editorial, 2015
Weekly Wrap-Up for January 16th, 2015, Elizabeth Devlin, FLUX. Boston, 2015