Michael Tolloy | Solid Solidarity
Jan 17, 2020 - Feb 29, 2020




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Figures of Stillness

Michael Tolloy’s sculptures are very special types of hybrid beings. On the one hand, they are bound by the art historical tradition, on the other hand, in terms of the content, form and techniques of the use of a traditional sculpture material they articulate a tentative yet purposeful and consistent orientation towards a contemporary image of humanity.
There is an equally consistent focus on this new aspiration in the chronology of the works of this artist, who was born in Innsbruck, in the exhibition at the Galerie Voss. This has been achieved by presenting sculptures, from the last few years, which have engaging aesthetics as well as clear distancing effects. After all, these days, the bundling of these kinds of ambivalences constitutes a key mediation function of art, too.
Proximity and distance, forcefulness and indifference - these are the ambivalent feelings experienced by a viewer encountering Tolloy’s sculptures for the first time. Eyes look at you and through you, whether they are closed, open, or directed to a point in the distance - disconcerting visual axes open up into a distance that you search for, but even when you approach the object you cannot definitively fix your gaze on its content.
At the heart of Michael Tolloy’s works stands the individual depicted as a full body figure, busts, or just the head; some are life size while others are slightly monumentalised. They all keep the viewer at an appropriate distance, they stand like statues and they look silently. Some of them seem unapproachable, proud and archaically superior. Others maintain an unspoiled child-like or youthful expression. Young women, slender and delicate with fine facial features look questioningly, some slightly invitingly, but all of them are calmly and mutedly elegant.
The size of the bodies likewise points to distance; you want to learn more about the depicted figures, their expressions of inwardness and detached reticence. The age and sex are discernible, yet vaguely defined. Details of a naturalistic representation are hinted at but stay isolated in the artistic context so that gestures and emotional expression remain in an undetermined context, in terms of content, and in a wide sculptural surrounding space where they can develop for an indefinite period of time, something which is characteristic of classical sculpture.
The timelessness aspect, in Tolloy’s case, refers both to his commitment to tradition, especially apparent in the use of wood - a material that is frequently artistically underestimated -, and also to a future vision that is undetermined in terms of content. Wood for him is an “unassuming work material” and the “positive core, the soul of my works”. This Tyrolean artist makes explicit use of stone pine, a wood from his home region, of linden wood, a popular material in the Gothic and Renaissance periods and of cypress, with its variety of grain patterns. Depending on the group of works, Tolloy emphasises the characteristics of the material, he allows time for cracks to work and grow deeper, he shapes surface grain patterns with mountain chalk in order to accentuate natural features, he sands wooden surfaces until they are velvety smooth like marble or, using a mixture of near-natural materials, constructs craggy surface structures that simulate the natural characteristic features of cast material flows and, by doing so, he advances and elevates the traditional hand crafting process.
The works exhibited here show the reverse process. Notches gape like wounds only in individual works, the surfaces are otherwise closed, smoothed and have been polished to a velvety-soft finish, they conceal the materiality or, at most, hint at it through fine almost graphic-looking lines. The viewer moves closer wanting to be certain of the feel of the works, which lucidly shine like porcelain and, in doing so, seem warm as human bodies thus calling into question the artificiality of the material. Art, artificiality, elements of naturalistic design and abstract form enter into an ambiguous symbiosis.
Is the point of this material estrangement merely to mislead the viewer for the purpose of consciousness-raising reflection on a new image of humanity? Is the function of art, artificiality, or even artificial intelligence open for discussion? Some of the objects seem robotic with their cold aesthetics heightened to perfection, the immaculate proportions of the face, the de-individualised bland expression and the ephemeral delicate physicality.
Jaume Plensa’s art objects use different materials but are similar in expression and established on the art market. They are made of glass, steel, polyester, artificial resin and bronze. As monumental heads or in quiescent gestures of retreat and tranquillity they stand silently and singularly; monumentalised in landscapes and urban spaces they denote islands of inner peace and create places of spiritual contemplation. They stoically urge a temporary withdrawal from the urban hustle and bustle and invite you to pause; they connect unspoilt nature with open space. These are works that evoke spirituality, beauty and perfection as the human habitus, as a postulate and human potential and, in that respect, they are close to Tolloy’s intention. “In a very noisy world, silence should be produced”, is how Plensa formulates one of his most pressing artistic concerns.
Michael Tolloy’s art likewise invites you to pause, it is reminiscent of quiet dialogue and urges introspection in times of social turbulence. “Perhaps I can contribute something towards harmonious coexistence”, he says laconically. His art can certainly raise awareness - for a concentrated look inside ourselves in a world where there is an over-abundance of outward appearances.

Text: Christiane Dressler, Essen





./ Participating Artists


Michael Tolloy


Exhibitions Overview

 
  Peter Uka | Inner Frame
Aug 28, 2020 - Oct 24, 2020


 
  Summer Break
Jul 16, 2020 - Aug 08, 2020


 
  Harding Meyer | new works
Jun 05, 2020 - Jul 15, 2020


 
  Mary A. Kelly | Chair
Mar 14, 2020 - May 30, 2020


 
  Michael Tolloy | Solid Solidarity
Jan 17, 2020 - Feb 29, 2020


 
  Kate Waters | Love Shacks and other Hideouts
Oct 18, 2019 - Jan 09, 2020


 
  Frank Bauer | Paths of Inaccuracy
Aug 30, 2019 - Oct 12, 2019


 
  Christian Bazant-Hegemark | Kindness of Strangers
Jun 07, 2019 - Jul 13, 2019


 
  Sandra Ackermann | Escape into your Reality
May 03, 2019 - Jun 01, 2019


 
  Kay Kaul | Cloudbusting
Mar 08, 2019 - Apr 27, 2019


 
  Jurriaan Molenaar | Fermate
Jan 18, 2019 - Mar 02, 2019


 
  Harding Meyer / Humanize
Oct 19, 2018 - Jan 12, 2019


 
  Mihoko Ogaki / Soft Landing
Aug 31, 2018 - Oct 13, 2018


 
  Iwajla Klinke / ONEIRONAUTS
Jun 08, 2018 - Aug 18, 2018


 
  Peter Uka / Fragment of the Present Passed
Apr 13, 2018 - May 26, 2018


 
  Daniel Heil / Monologues
Mar 09, 2018 - Apr 07, 2018


 
  Düsseldorf Photo Weekend 2018
Feb 16, 2018 - Feb 18, 2018


 
  Sandra Senn / Zwischen Zwei Meeren
Jan 26, 2018 - Mar 03, 2018


 
  Frank Bauer / Die Gelassenheit der Dinge
Nov 17, 2017 - Jan 20, 2018


 
  Kate Waters / Whistling In The Dark
Sepr 01, 2017 - Nov 11, 2017


 
  Untitled
Jul 12, 2017 - Aug 02, 2017


 
  Davide La Rocca / 13K ( Part 1 )
May 12, 2017 - Jun 27, 2017


 
  Sandra Ackermann / Lost in Nothingness
Mar 24, 2017 - May 06, 2017


 
  Claudia Rogge / CONCENTRATION
Jan 27, 2017 - Mar 18, 2017


 
  Christian Bazant - Hegemark / The Rise and Fall of Transformative Hopes and Expectations
Nov 11, 2016 - Jan 21, 2017


 
  Harding Meyer / The Others
Aug 26, 2016 - Nov 05, 2016


 
  Crossing Borders
Jun 03, 2016 - Jul 15, 2016


 
  Sandra Senn / Flüchtiges Getriebe
Apr 08, 2016 - May 21, 2016


 
  Iwajla Klinke / Red Sandals and a Mirror for Gabriel
Feb 12, 2016 - Mar 26, 2016


 
  Corrado Zeni / Éloge de la fuite
Nov 27, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016


 
  Claudia Rogge / PerSe
Oct 16, 2015 - Nov 21, 2015


 
  Kate Waters // Tell it like it is
Aug 28, 2015 - Oct 10, 2015


 
  Visions Of Sensory Space ( by Weightless Artists Association - SPARTNIC )
May 15, 2015 - Jul 04, 2015


 
  Sandra Ackermann / Wasteland
Mar 13, 2015 - May 02, 2015


 
  Lost Scapes
Jan 30, 2015 - Mar 07, 2015


 
  Christian Bazant-Hegemark / Calibrating Aesthetics
Nov 14, 2014 - Jan 17, 2015


 
  Frank Bauer / Back to Basics
Aug 29, 2014 - Nov 08, 2014


 
  Harding Meyer // recent paintings
May 23, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014


 
  Till Freiwald - memoria
Apr 11, 2014 - May 17, 2014


 
  Quadriennale Düsseldorf 2014 / Gallery Evening
Apr 05, 2014 - Apr 05, 2014


 
  Iwajla Klinke / Ritual Memories
Jan 17, 2014 - Apr 05, 2014


 
  Giacomo Costa // Traces
Nov 22, 2013 - Jan 11, 2013


 
  DC-Open Galleries: Matthias Danberg - Inventory by Appropriation
Sepr 06, 2013 - Nov 16, 2013


 
  Christian Bazant-Hegemark // VOW OF SILENCE
May 24, 2013 - Aug 20, 2013


 
  Corrado Zeni // Generation Why
Apr 12, 2013 - May 18, 2013


 
  behind the Non-Colours
Mar 22, 2013 - Apr 06, 2013


 
  Sandra Ackermann // Running to stand still
Feb 15, 2013 - Mar 16, 2013


 
  Düsseldorf Photo Weekend 2013
Feb 01, 2013 - Feb 09, 2013


 
  Mihoko Ogaki // Star Tales - White Floating
Nov 30, 2012 - Jan 31, 2013


 
  Claudia Rogge / Lost in Paradise
Oct 12, 2012 - Nov 24, 2012


 
  Harding Meyer // features
Sepr 07, 2012 - Oct 06, 2012


 
  Summer 2012 - Part 2
Aug 10, 2012 - Sepr 01, 2012


 
  Summer 2012
Jul 06, 2012 - Sepr 01, 2012


 
  Maria Friberg // The Painting Series
May 11, 2012 - Jun 23, 2012


 
  Mary A. Kelly // Father & Child
Mar 30, 2012 - May 06, 2012


 
  Maia Naveriani // Future Wolves and Chicks so far
Feb 10, 2012 - Mar 24, 2012


 
  Düsseldorf Photo Weekend 2012
Feb 04, 2012 - Feb 08, 2012


 
  Kate Waters // The Air that I breathe
Dec 09, 2011 - Jan 28, 2012


 
  Frank Bauer / ...den Wald vor lauter Bäumen....
Nov 04, 2011 - Dec 03, 2011


 
  Claudia Rogge // Final Friday
Sepr 09, 2011 - Oct 29, 2011


 
  Davide La Rocca - STILLS
May 27, 2011 - Jul 16, 2011


 
  Giacomo Costa // Post Natural
Apr 01, 2011 - May 21, 2011


 
  Harding Meyer - to be a real vision
Feb 18, 2011 - Mar 26, 2011


 
  Shannon Rankin - Disperse / Displace
Dec 03, 2010 - Feb 12, 2011


 
  Sandra Ackermann // I look inside you
Oct 15, 2010 - Nov 27, 2010


 
  Amparo Sard / AT THE IMPASSE
Sepr 03, 2010 - Oct 09, 2010


 
  Kate Waters // The Land of Kubla Khan
Jun 11, 2010 - Jul 17, 2010


 
  Jurriaan Molenaar // Lessness
Apr 30, 2010 - Jun 05, 2010


 
  Claudia Rogge // The Paradise of the Onlooker
Mar 05, 2010 - Apr 24, 2010


 
  Ivonne Thein // incredible me
Jan 22, 2010 - Feb 27, 2010


 
  Frank Bauer // Jet Set
Nov 27, 2009 - Jan 15, 2010


 
  Michael Koch // forever more
Oct 23, 2009 - Nov 21, 2009


 
  Masaharu Sato // SIGNS
Sepr 04, 2009 - Oct 17, 2009


 
  Harding Meyer // blind date
Jun 19, 2009 - Aug 22, 2009


 
  Maria Friberg // way ahead
Apr 24, 2009 - Jun 13, 2009


 
  Claudia Rogge // Isolation ( aus: Segment 8 - die Blasen der Gesellschaft)
Mar 06, 2009 - Apr 18, 2009


 
  Claudia Rogge - The Opening
Mar 06, 2009 - Apr 18, 2009


 
  JoJo Tillmann // What you see is what you get
Jan 30, 2009 - Feb 28, 2009


 
  Sandra Ackermann // Die Wirklichkeit ist nicht die Wahrheit
Nov 21, 2008 - Jan 24, 2009


 
  Kate Waters - Getting used to the 21st Century
Oct 10, 2008 - Nov 15, 2008


 
  Mihoko Ogaki - Milky Ways
Sepr 04, 2008 - Oct 04, 2008


 
  Summer 2008 // Painting
Aug 12, 2008 - Aug 30, 2008


 
  Silke Rehberg: Stationen 1,4,6,7,11,12,13,14
Jun 13, 2008 - Jul 12, 2008


 
  Maia Naveriani: At home with good ideas
May 09, 2008 - Jun 07, 2008


 
  Justin Richel: Rise and Fall
Apr 04, 2008 - May 03, 2008


 
  Davide La Rocca - Strange Object
Feb 08, 2008 - Mar 28, 2008


 
  Frank Bauer: AkikoAlinaAlinkaAndrew....
Nov 30, 2007 - Feb 02, 2008


 
  Maria Friberg: Fallout
Oct 12, 2007 - Nov 24, 2007


 
  Harding Meyer / in sight
Sepr 06, 2007 - Oct 11, 2007


 
  SUMMER '07
Jul 17, 2007 - Sepr 01, 2007


 
  Kay Kaul - Wasserfarben
Jun 15, 2007 - Jul 14, 2007


 
  Sandra Ackermann - Point Blank
Mar 02, 2007 - Apr 28, 2007


 
  Tamara K.E.: pioneers -none of us and somewhere else
Jan 19, 2007 - Feb 24, 2007


 
  Till Freiwald
Nov 17, 2006 - Jan 13, 2007


 
  Claudia Rogge: U N I F O R M
Sepr 01, 2006 - Nov 11, 2006


 
  Frank Sämmer: Die Stunde des Zaunkönigs
Jun 23, 2006 - Aug 22, 2006


 
  Kate Waters: Killing Time
May 05, 2006 - Jun 17, 2006


 
  Katia Bourdarel: The Flesh of Fairy Tales
Mar 31, 2006 - Apr 29, 2006


 
  Mihoko Ogaki
Feb 10, 2006 - Mar 18, 2006


 
  Silke Rehberg: RICOMINCIARE DAL CORPO
Jan 27, 2006 - Feb 26, 2006


 
  Sandra Ackermann
Dec 08, 2005 - Jan 15, 2006


 
  Corrado Zeni
Dec 04, 2005 - Jan 11, 2006


 
  Frank Bauer
Nov 18, 2005 - Jan 15, 2006


 
  Harding Meyer
Oct 07, 2005 - Nov 12, 2005


 
  AUFTAKT
Sepr 02, 2005 - Oct 01, 2005


 
  Claudia Rogge: Rapport
Jun 17, 2005 - Jul 20, 2005


 
 
May 13, 2005 - Jun 11, 2005


 
  Kate Waters: Solo-Exhibition in the Gallery Thomas Cohn, Sao Paulo
Apr 16, 2005 - May 20, 2005


 
  Vittorio Gui: FROZEN MOMENTS
Apr 08, 2005 - May 07, 2005


 
  Kay Kaul - ARTSCAPES
Apr 03, 2005 - May 29, 2005


 
  SEO Geheimnisvoller Blick
Mar 04, 2005 - Apr 02, 2005


 
  Claudia van Koolwijk at Museum Bochum
Feb 26, 2005 - Apr 17, 2005


 
  Corrado Zeni - Six Degrees of Separation
Nov 26, 2004 - Jan 15, 2005


 
  Maia Naveriani: What' s the difference between ME and YOU?
Oct 15, 2004 - Nov 20, 2004


 
  Tamara K.E.: MAD DONNA AND DONNA CORLEONE
Sepr 03, 2004 - Oct 09, 2004


 
  Davide La Rocca: Real Vision Reflex
Jun 12, 2004 - Jul 17, 2004


 
  Kay Kaul COLLECTORSCAPES
Apr 23, 2004 - Jun 05, 2004


 
  Frank Sämmer MUTABOR
Mar 12, 2004 - Apr 17, 2004