In the end you still are stuck in traffic
And your watch still ticks at the same speed
The artistic practice of Berlin-based artist Monty Richthofen is rooted in his interest in prose poetry and aphoristic language. For his first exhibition at Weserhalle, Richthofen draws on his attention to words, as well as his adjunct practice as a tattoo artist, to produce Ferrari, a body of work that reflects on materialism in contemporary society via a diary-like collection of thoughts and phrases transposed to white walls.
As an elaboration of an earlier artwork—a series of tattoos titled #mywordsyourbody, during which the artist gained often relatable insight into his clients’ thoughts and fears around material desires—Ferrari is composed of original text-based works and paintings that shift Richthofen’s inscriptions of poetry from the body to the canvas, capturing the very human anxieties over social class and economic stability in a classically artistic form. Taking a staunch position against luxury goods as symbols of social and economic status, this newest body of work sniggers in the direction of superfluous extravagance
‘We are all consumed by the desire to consume’, muses Richthofen, and this fact of contemporary life comes at a price. The works in Ferrari aim to deconstruct the symbolism embedded in material possessions, making reference to the luxury car company to emphasise that the pursuit of material wealth is ultimately a sacrifice in personal time. To Richthofen, jewelled watches, high end handbags and lavish sports cars represent participation in a capitalist system that ultimately strips away personal freedoms. Additionally, within this critique of consumption emerges the contemporary art object as luxury good, and certainly criticism for the commodification of art does not elude Richthofen’s scope. Just as he judges other forms of opulence, the artwork is similarly critiqued for being bound up in a culture of acquiring material possessions. Though despite this observation, materialism is a syndrome from which the artist admits he is not exempt.