Charlotte Posenenske was among Germany’s leading artists in the 1960s, creating minimalist sculptures based on the industrial principles of modular reduction, seriality, and standardization. In an effort to limit individuality in her work, she restricted both her choice of materials and her color palette, using only sheet steel, cardboard, or aluminum painted with weatherproof RAL standard paint in black, blue, red, and yellow. The works were intended to be produced in unlimited series, distributed at cost, and presented in public, rather than gallery, contexts. In this way, Posenenske’s oeuvre is formally aligned with European Minimalism but fundamentally rooted in Conceptual Art as it engages issues of participation and institutional critique.
Charlotte Posenenske conceives of the series D and DW: quadrangular tubes rely on a modular system in which production, distribution, and consumerism, call into question industrial processes. Their manipulation is entrusted to the spectator (series DW) and their assemblage is delegated to the exhibition curator (series D). By leaving the final form of her works up to others’ imaginations and supervision, the artist celebrates societal cooperation and criticizes standardized work. Between perfection and disorder, imagination and impediments, vindication and powerlessness, fluid diversions and rational forms, Charlotte Posenenske imposes a poetry of improvised action.
“I make series because I do not want to make single pieces for individuals, in order to have elements combinable within a system, in order to make something which is repeatable, objective, and because it is economical. The series could be prototypes for mass production.” Charlotte Posenenske