Thomas Schütte was born in Oldenburg, Germany in 1954. He studied with Benjamin Buchloh and Gerhard Richter at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, where he continues to live and work.
Adept in printmaking, watercolor and installation, he is best known for his sculptures, particularly his silhouettes, which range from miniatures to large-scale works. Often disturbing or awkward, the sculptures present distorted expressions and a malevolent presence, exploring the role of the artist in contemporary society.
Architectural models are also an important part of Thomas Schütte’s artistic practice. He has created a series of models, in different scales, including Model for a Hotel (2003), which was installed on the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square in London in 2007. He refers to the models as a way of opening up works to the viewer: “I use models because they are something anyone can understand. You can see them as a prototype for something bigger, something seen from a child’s perspective; you could see them as a public stage. Schütte has had many solo exhibitions at venues including the Dia Center for the Arts in New York in 1999, the Reina Sofia in 2010, the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2012, the Fondation Beyeler in 2013, and the Kunsthaus Bregenz in 2019, among others. He received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2005 and the Düsseldorf Prize in 2010. Schütte’s work is in the collections of the Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Portrait : Photography by Stephan Meyer-Bergfeld, 2019