Niklas Apfel is an interdisciplinary artist living in Berlin with a focus on graphic design and illustration. His work takes place in the area of tension between applied graphic design and free art, whereby the individual areas often blur into one another. The abstracted and transformed representation of figures, landscapes and typography characterises his artistic approach.
He is currently a Meisterschüler at the Berlin University of the Arts with Professor Fons Hickmann.
Blow Up is a persiflage: sewn from lightweight polyester fabric, the horse sculpture is filled with air and thus questions well-known equestrian and horse statues.
Horse statues and equestrian statues serve as symbols for the hubris of rulers who display power and influence over their subordinates. They stand for martiality, aggression, victories and conquests - and for arrogance: such sculptures serve as monumental testimonies to the dominance and claims to power of political and military leaderships; through their imposing size and majestic depiction, the sculptures, which are usually cast in bronze, are intended to symbolise dominance and strength.
Blow Up represents a counter-design to such narratives of dominance: the sculpture takes the familiar image of riders and equestrian statues ad absurdum and satirises it: The new equestrian statue is shown in a 5.5-metre-high installation made of lightweight polyester fabric. A horse made of light material, inflated with air, swaying in the wind, impressionable, not static, sensitive. The rider who controls the horse is missing. Thus only the involuntary carrier of the „hero“, the horse, is shown.
With the sound installation, fanfares and trumpets are alienated and set in antithesis to horse sounds and atmospheric forest and meadow noises. The illustrative exaggeration of the figure creates a haptic and audiovisual contrast to the meticulously and finely crafted horses of the bronze statues
from the past.
Artist: Niklas Apfel, Berlin - Germany
Title: Blow Up
Date: 13.10. + 21.10.2023
Photo: Thomas Schoger