It’s Nice That Student of the Month launched at the beginning of this month and the response was truly excellent. Safe to say it’s impossible to set expectations after inviting the student populace to send us their best work as it was very clear, very quickly that the sheer talent and collective enthusiasm surpassed whatever logic we employed in selection. That said, queue Thomas Albdorf! A third year Transmediale Kunst (Intermedial Art) student at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna …
Thomas’ project Sculptures has a delightfully simple mentality. Onsite detritus is utilised with his own kit of soft, foldable items with which he ties, flies, props or places amongst environments that rarely see/probably never see “art” again. The sculptures and their eventual conclusion as photographs feel coherent and Thomas cites interesting references, talks about the process with a happy confidence and shows some honest aesthetic goodness.
“My favorite haunt is the woods – mainly due to two factors: firstly most of my sculptures are very simple and work with basic geometrics or monochrome surfaces, so they function as a counterbalance to the highly textured, dense structures of the surrounding woods, and in addition the artificial geometrical shapes are not repeated within the surroundings. The architecture/simplicity of urban environments would interfere too much with these sculptures. Secondly, I like to work in places that are rarely confronted with human presence, not to mention art.
The sculptures / interventions only exist for a very short amount of time and are removed / deconstructed after taking the photo, but they are “frozen” in time due to the act of photography."
At the time of making/creating this project, who or what was your biggest influence?
Mainly five artists that work with similar strategies: Marcel Duchamp (but honestly, I think there’s no contemporary artist that can’t refer to Duchamp), Fischli & Weiss, Roman Signer and Erwin Wurm. Duchamp and Fischli & Weiss are also credited in the titles of two of the photos of the series “Sculptures” that directly refer to specific works of them.
What is the most valuable thing you have learnt at university to date?
This may sound naive, but I began looking differently at my environment. Since I started studying my awareness for semiotic shifts (a different use of signifiers and signified respectively their relationship), subtle uncanniness and not-so-obvious possibilities to create interesting situations out of ordinary objects constantly increased. And this process still continues with every lecture I take or every conversation I have with my fellow students.
What would you be doing now if you weren’t at Art School?
I worked full-time as a graphic designer before I started to study (and I’m still doing it as a freelancer now), so I’m pretty sure I would still be employed at an advertising agency, suffering from a limited amount of time to produce my art.
Where are you making/creating most of your work?
Due to the fact that I build my interventions either out of found objects in, for example, abandoned areas or install them mainly in the woods, so work on-site, I effectively create most of my work in random outdoor places. But since I consider the conceptual part the most important one (besides maybe the actual moment where I take the photo), one could also say I primarily work while, for example, drinking beer with my friends at a bar, discussing relevant artistic topics like postmodern traces in zombie flicks, watching nature documentations on TV in a dazed condition, or any other occasion where ideas pop out of nothing.
What are you working on at the moment?
I simply try to bring my installations to the next level. Lately I also started to create simple interventions out of the things that surround me in my flat, so my interest shifted a bit from outdoor to indoor. But this may change as soon as spring arrives … In general I usually work without a bigger plan, keep doing stuff, until the photos I took materialise in form of a series (or not).
If you’d like to submit a project to It’s Nice That Student of the Month click here to read more…