Insight into our collection

Thorsten Brinkmann "Venus la Shade", 2016

For years, Thorsten Brinkmann has been collecting everyday objects discarded on the street, or found in landfill sites and at flea markets. These objects serve him as a disguise when he takes self-portraits using a cable release – civilization’s rubbish becomes art.

Content_Venus de Shade, 2016, C_Print, 150 x 200 cm  ©Thorsten Brinkmann & VG Bildkunst 2020,Bonn .jpg

Venus la Shade, 2016, C-Print, 150 x 200 cm / © Thorsten Brinkmann & Pro Litteris 2020, Zurich


Thorsten Brinkmann (born in Herne, Germany in 1971) adopts costumes that render him unrecognizable for his self-portraits. The cloaked, armed figures are funny, mysterious and confusing. Brinkmann creates strange beings, somewhere between a person, a puppet and a historical figure, with dented buckets, lamp shades, vases and clothing - all of which are used and discarded everyday objects.

The artist cites the classic genres of art history, but upends them. "Venus la Shade", a colorful and impressive picture is reminiscent of Titian's presentations of Venus or the Olympia of Édouard Manet. Pictures that focus on the natural beauty of a woman. Here, the classic reclining figure is for once covered, draped, poised with everyday, used objects.

Venus la Shade. The Venus of the Lamp Shades or the Many Colors? The ambiguous title permits many possible interpretations. In many ways, this work is an intertwining of high art and everyday life, nakedness and covering, people and objects. Using pictures, Brinkmann cleverly gets us to reflect on roles, beauty and consumption.

Find out more about the artist