Some thoughts about ‘Gebiss mit Glühbirne’
by Justin Almquist
Gebiss mit Glühbirne
Acryl/Lw, 80 x 100 cm, 1997/99, signiert
I like what still-lives can provoke. The calculated leftovers you stumble onto in someone’s room after they have gone. Maybe you’re housesitting for them. You scan the room and look at the various arrangements. You think to yourself, ‘I would have done that differently’ or rather, you’re quite content as I often am to have been exempt from the decision-making process altogether. After all, it isn’t your ‘stuff’.
With ‘Gebiss mit Glühbirne’ (Denture with Light bulb) a similar event occurs. Confronted with an artificial set of teeth and light bulb, the suggestion of the edge of a table and a room, who would leave such an arrangement for me to discover?
One can begin to ask such questions, speculate or simply accept this grouping as fact. It is natural to want to begin to make associations.
I couldn’t help but begin to think about this painting as if it contained some kind of hidden lesson. The dentures do not appear to be the sort that you wear, rather those that one learns from while visiting the dentist because of complications wherein they begin explaining that you’re going to need a crown, don’t floss enough, or you brush your teeth too vigorously; hence, the bleeding gums and you should cease to do this immediately.
A light bulb goes off in your head like in the many cartoons you saw as a child when a villain inevitably gets a good idea. This is only one of an infinite amount of outcomes one could entertain.
For me, my mind wanders into the direction of the classic sideshow attraction. I think of the person who could eat glass and would demonstrate this onstage in front of a live audience. The projection of fear and thoughts of pain; imagining the risk and consequences of such an undertaking as a viewer are unbearable. The crunch of the glass so close to the soft tissue of the gums and tongue- crunch, crunch, crunch, swallow and gone it is. Relief.
The lesson here is not to be afraid to eat your ideas even if you have false teeth and the ideas are sharp and may choke you.