Warfare Canaries

Thorsten Brinkmann

  • main galleries
  • artist in residence


After a gap of a number of years, the IFFM is resuming its former practice of appointing an artist in residence. The first artist in this new series is Thorsten Brinkmann, and he will exhibit several of his works within the new permanent museum display. The exhibition area for the artist in residence has been moved from its old position under the belfry tower to the heart of the permanent display in the south-west corner of the building. This not only offers the artist more space, but the location is also more logical and appropriate within the context of the museum circuit as a whole. From now on, the artists' newly created works will stand at the transitional point between the historical overview of the war years and the later section which explains how people have dealt with the legacy of the war during the past century. The intention is that the works exhibited by the artist in residence should remain the same. Through his work, the contemporary artist invites the visitor to reflect on the themes of war and peace, in a way that is far more effective and far more penetrating than anything the museum can do.

Thorsten Brinkmann is the first German artist that the IFFM has invited to Ieper. He was born in 1971 in Herne, a town in the Ruhr region, but he now lives and works in Hamburg. Since the end of the 1990s, he has been developing a varied oeuvre, which includes photography, compositions made from objects he has found or others have thrown away, performances and three-dimensional installations.  He likes to work with 'staged' presentational pieces, in which photographs are integrated into his installations. He plays the leading role in these photos, but often in a way that allows him to remain unseen or unrecognizable. In his studio in Hamburg he has built up a stockpile of the most varied objects imaginable. He seeks his inspiration in historical and literary facts and gives similar titles to his resulting works.

The catalog is available in the webshop.

In 2011 he won the Kunstpreis Finkenwerder, the most prestigious German prize for the plastic arts.

His most recent works:

In 2012 he created a thought-provoking installation for the Façade open-air exhibition in Middelburg.

In 2013 - following a period as artist in residence at the Andy Warhol Museum in 2011 - he was asked by a collector to renovate a complete house in Pittsburg in his own distinctive style, to develop a Gesammt (literally 'total') work of art, which is now known as La Hütte Royal. To do this, Brinkmann used many of the materials he found in the immediate vicinity of the house, which dates from 1912. In an interview with the Wallpaper magazine, he commented: ‘La Hütte Royal is the biggest single private art piece I have worked on. In my career, I have already created many installations including rooms, photographs, sculptures and videos. This installation was a chance to combine all I was working on the last few years and develop new pieces. It became a Gesamtkunstwerk, where life and art melt into one.’