Extract from the accompanying text to SECRET EUROPEAN STUDIO
Paul Carey-Kent, 2016
Simona Brinkmann is a sculptor whose work deals with power structures. She addresses spatial borders and boundaries, and politics of movement control and enclosure in ways which can be seen to relate to issues involved in free movement between nations. Perhaps constraint is intrinsic to the logic of all architecture. Brinkmann goes so far as to suggest that the built environment 'often seems to articulate an inherent violence', and that 'one could talk about a fundamental power relation that is at play in its very nature'. The work selected here fuses the languages of architecture with that of fetishisation, suggesting a parallel between the way built environments control the body through material processes of exclusion/inclusion and how master/servant relations can operate to similar or related ends. This feeds into a sleek aesthetic which puts the tropes of minimalism slightly out of whack by potentially sexualising them and building in contrasts of hard and soft, erect and fallen, shiny and matt. The barrier-like sculpture ‘Checkpoint’ features foam-padded leather; the floor-bound ‘Bridges Become Doors’ uses steel and graphite paste. All of which can be read across to the classic philosophical question: if we don’t want anarchy, how many restrictions should we accept?