Björn Dahlem

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Björn Dahlem
The Milky Way, 2007
Wood, neon lamp, bottle of milk
Dimensions variable

Björn Dahlem makes room-sized sculptures that represent abstract concepts of space and matter. His creations are based not on stability, but on fragility which he sees as the defining condition of human knowledge. His low-tech wood and light assemblages allude to cosmic theories and philosophy, re-imagining the ways the universe is understood in startlingly simplified terms.
The material properties of wood and its ubiquitous availability make it a constant in Dahlem’s sculptural repertoire. “Wood allows me very immediate access to my ideas, because what I’m trying to do is to stay as close to the idea and the immaterial image of the imagination.” In some sculptures, wood is paired with light, a symbol of the immaterial and of enlightenment.

Björn Dahlem
Homunculus Samurai (Sinn Ninja), 2006
Mixed media
180 x 60 x 60 cm

The Milky Way (2007) is a sprawling web of wood and neon tubes illustrating its title subject, but without pretending to be to scale, useful or even correct. The work hinges on the immediacy of easily recognised forms and symbols (lumber, lights, a jar of milk), which Dahlem has transformed into what he calls a “thought model” or “mental habitat”: “When I work on the sculptures I always try to be like a child… [thinking, for example,] today I’m going to build the cosmos with orbits of planets.”

Björn Dahlem
Schwarzes Loch (M-Sphären) (and 4 details), 2007
Wood, lamps, light bulbs and neon lamps
540 x 730 x 360 cm

Schwarzes Loch (M-Sphären) (Black Hole (M-Spheres), 2007) is part of a series of hovering constructions composed of wooden polyhedron shapes to which incandescent and fluorescent lights have been attached. At its core is a smaller, black polyhedron, a disarming version of the real thing, a black hole – popular scientific knowledge turned into a mysterious, self-defined new.

Björn Dahlem
Cathedral, 2008
Wood, lightbulbs, glacier cherries, red wine, varnish
191 x 60 x 60 cms

Cathedral (2008), a towering wooden assemblage fixed around a teetering pile of jars of glacier cherries, is a made-up model of a parallel reality, rife with an absurd, incomprehensible instability.



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