Jürgen Stollhans

Jürgen Stollhans: Weit werden wir nicht kommen (We won´t be coming far), 2018
Emulsion paint on canvas
Courtesy the artist

Weit werden wir nicht kommen (We won´t be coming far)

It looks rickety, this truck. On closer inspection, it disintegrates into its individual components. It is comprised of numerals, Chinese characters and representational motifs, although the term “representational,” as is usual in art, is not accurate. The hubcap is a hubcap, but it is also color field painting. Examining the driver’s cabin, it is impossible to tell whether it is open, closed or both. The cargo space is not one; more precisely, it is not a space but instead consists of two surfaces. The surface in front is inscribed with a sort of slogan: “We can’t advertise.”

The truck is an emblem. Emblems (coats of arms, for example) always consist of elements more or less thrown together, often with an aphorism. This emblem, the Chinese truck, promises “ambiguity.” It is Chinese not because it conveys Chinese writing. Or because it indulges in paradoxes, such as the saying “We can’t advertise,” which does in fact advertise, but only for non-advertising or, rather, for the inability to advertise, for whatever reason. No, the truck is Chinese to the degree in which it takes the middle path and demonstrates that opposites (such as a hubcap or a color field, open or closed, space or non-space, advertising or non-advertising and, last but not least, capitalism or communism) are not mutually exclusive.