Torsten Slama suspends the rules of physics in favor of his poetic imagination. In Slama’s world, floating geometric shapes can effortlessly co-exist with modernist architecture and sci-fi landscapes. His subjects are consistently architectural and mechanical, and noticeably absent of humans. Is this utopia better off without humans, or perhaps more unsettling with their absence? Is this a post-apocalyptic world erased of humanity? One is never quite sure.
This recent suite of drawings, on view at Wystube Isebähnli, Zurich, through June 29th, expounds upon Slama’s fascination with this tension between machinery, architecture, and landscape. Sometimes the trains roll past industrial buildings, forcing the viewer to question if the isolated structures, while well-preserved, are relics of a civilization now extinct. Other times they travel through bucolic landscapes, imparting man-made steam and pollution onto the pastoral setting. Strange UFOs hover above a few of the trains, suggesting that if there were inhabitants, they might not be human.
Torsten Slama was born in Schwarzach, Austria, in 1967. Slama was featured in a major solo exhibition at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas, in 2009. He additionally has shown at Museum de Hallen, Haarlem, The Netherlands; Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany; and can be found in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.