Tobias Kaspar «Rented Life»
The new series of frottages is part of Tobias Kaspar's «Rented Life» series, in which the artist outsources his monthly expenses during one year. Collectors purchase a subscription to cover the artist's fixed costs and in return receive an artwork on a monthly basis. The works reflect the subscription in form and content: the subscriber to Kaspar's vegetable basket will for example receive a series of 12 colour potato prints. Some works echoe famous figures in art and cultural history, such as On Karawa, Daniel Spoerri or Saul Steinberg. The media vary a lot, ranging from photographs to postcards, from small drawings to entire room installations.
Tobias Kaspar has carefully identified each lot with the conceptually corresponding trade-offs. Beside generic expanses such as life insurance and rent, his choice consciously reflects the bohmemian-neoliberal lifestyle in modern society, including monthly Uber rides, bottles of Champagne or Pilates classes. By cataloging and «outsourcing» his supposedly indispensable expenses, Kaspar gives a close insight in his personal life, thereby creating a kind of highly intimate biopic or self-portrait. On the one hand, «Rented Life» has a performative or even theatrical character in the sense that it translates basic human needs and everyday life into artworks. On the other hand, the project has a documentary and social aspect as it addresses existential issues in the life of a contemporary artist. It questions the relation between artistic freedom and financial dependance. In this regard, it is a kind of case study of artists' work in 2020 / 2021. The participative format of the project, which evoques both traditional arts patronage and modern crowdfunding, invites us to reflect on the structures that shape and govern the Western art world and market today.
The «Rented Life» series created for Edition VFO corresponds to a subscription to cover one of Tobias Kaspar's basic needs: footwear. Using the classic technique of frottage, Tobias Kaspar has produced six pairs of shoes which he bought in 2020: Simply Basic slippers, Converse Chucks, Hogan Rebel sneakers, On boots, Alexander Mc Queen sneakers and Bottega Veneta high heel sandals. Each shoe was created in three unique variations. The price of the frottage equals the market price of the shoe plus CHF 400 for the production and handling of the work. Thus, collectors can directly contribute to the artist's footwear consumption by acquiring a frottage.
The new frottages also address the topic of fashion and trends, a recurrent aspect in Tobias Kaspar's work. The current edition evoques the power of fashion and art to convey the wearer and collector a certain identity. «Rented Life» questions mechanisms and dynamics which occur both in art and fashion: how and when does a symbolic value arise? Through which processes does something become desirable? How does a piece of clothing or a work of art influence their owner and the way they are perceived by others?
The medium of frottage, also known as stone rubbing, is probably the first color-using printing process that was widely used in China during the Ming Dynasty. The main positive feature of this manual reproduction process was the fact that there was no side reversal during the rubbing. The technique was popularized in art again, especially in the 20th century, by Max Ernst. Tobias Kaspar takes up this rarely used technique which is often considered as archaic or simple. The new works also show how close the medium of print and drawing are to each other.
With Tobias Kaspar's «Rented Life», Edition VFO is pleased to launch a new exhibition format: One Wall will be dedicated to new works by one specific artist and scheduled between the regular group shows with new editions.
For further information and image requests, please contact David Khalat at firstname.lastname@example.org.