During the ’70s, many artists strove to leave the ivory tower of the art scene for the arenas of nature and society. Spurred by utopic visions of a humane world brought about by art, they discarded the bourgeois “l’art pour l’art” thinking that stressed the role of genius. With the recent onslaught of young artists concerned with the traditional media of painting, sculpture, and drawing, “pure” art (pure museum commodity) has returned to the focus of attention, a reversal Rudi Fuchs sought to institutionalize at Documenta 7; but recent art production makes this direction impossible to sustain. To an increasing extent, young artists’ work again reflects social relevance, and more and more artists are emerging who have never questioned the need for such relevance.
Even as finished works, Ecker’s sculptures convey an intimation of the suggestive power exerted on the artist by the found materials. The poetic ambiguity of his ciphers in space challenges usual viewing habits; here threatening in their bizarre, crude form, there comical in their inadequacy, always free in their ambiguity, they challenge the viewer to a dialogue through the medium of an imagination that cannot be standardized. Utterly contemporary in their rough, seemingly symbolic forms and their use of the materials of modern civilization, they seem like a rendering in the present of an archaic/mythical link between social structure and human culture. In this suggestive, “cultic” connection, the longing of the artistic individual for a new unity of people with their environment is intense. This is the utopic vision of the ’80s, and Ecker’s work is exemplary of it. The revolt against a standardized alienated society is unquestionably less amenable to analysis in Ecker’s sculptures than it was in the art of the ’60s and ’70s, but in its lapidary, difficult, and ironic form it causes no less disturbance. Only intuition can provide the key to understanding it.
www.ftn-books.com has now the Produzentengalerie Hamburg catalogue from 1991 available