Journal 24.06.2024

Clay Commons selects the artist, Michael Beutler, for the production of the artwork in Boom

Despite the enthusiasm for this design of the first artist chosen, Bosco Sodi, this new artist has been chosen to create an artwork that will respond to the desire of the commissioners. He is currently working on a design and will travel soon to visit the site with the commissioners.

In January, the artist chosen for this commission, Bosco Sodi, proposs his first design to the commissioners of Boom, a monumental and spatial sculpture 5m x 5m. Made from Wienerberger bricks, produced from the local clay in Boom, the work calls attention to Boom’s industrial past. The sculpture holds the gold of Boom inside: twenty-eight-million-year-old clay. The contrast of this oversized vessel of new, freshly produced bricks, protecting a primal product of nature acts as a visual expression of the cycle between nature and human action

Despite the enthusiasm for this design, the commissioners have technical questions regarding the execution of the work who were not answered. In addition, there is the difficulty with the limited durability of the chosen material. As the rapid-build bricks of Wienerberger, made in Boom from the local clay, are only suitable for interior walls, they are not intended to stand outside for long periods of time. After just one harsh winter, the bricks can freeze and burst, which makes a large sculptural work in an outdoor area unsafe. 

After several meetings where the questions and issues are discussed, the commissioners sadly conclude that even though Bosco’s design fulfills their wishes, the technical elaboration and realization don’t do justice to Bosco Sodi’s concept. Wienerberger, an important sponsor, states in addition that they cannot defend the use of these interior wall bricks in public outdoor areas. As a pioneer of the ceramic sector, Wienerberger cannot support the crumbling of their bricks as intended by the concept of the art work. They decide they can no longer support the realization of this art work with their material. And without, the project cannot be realized as intended.  

Following this conclusion and decision by the commissioners and extra mediating sessions, a new artist is chosen to create an artwork that will respond to the desire of the commissioners. Michael Beutler (°1976, lives and works in Berlin) creates installations that both monumentally fill space and exude fragility through the use of everyday materials. He does not limit his interventions to art institutions, but also works in the urban landscape. In doing so, he reacts against the social and architectural structures of the chosen space. 

Beutlers' artworks are always the result of an experimental and artisanal process. For instance, he designs his own objects and machines with which he processes industrial materials such as wood, paper, plastic and metal. He often creates his artworks on site, changing exhibition space simultaneously into production site. As an artist, Beutler has an immense interest in clay and the artisanal production process. Michael Beutler is currently working on a design for this commission in Boom, and will travel to visit the site with the commissioners.