Installation view, solo exhibition Kate MacGarry Gallery, London
Stefan Saffer created a new installation for his second show at the gallery. Purple carpet transforms the space, creating a backdrop for a group of new sculptures. These are models made in raw, painted wood. They have a formal construction and sometimes include found materials, at the same time alluding to something large scale or functional.
The installation takes it´s form from Epic Theatre, a movement arising in the early to mid 20th century and inextricably linked to the German playwright Bertolt Brecht. It assumes that the purpose of a play, more than to entertain or to imitate reality, is to present ideas and invite the audience to make judgments on them. Characters are not intended to mimic real people, but to represent opposing sides of an argument, archetypes, or stereotypes. The audience should always be aware that it is watching a play, and should keep an emotional distance from the action. Brecht described this ideal as the Verfremdungseffekt, translated as "alienation effect". "It is most important that one of the main features of the ordinary theatre should be excluded from the engendering of illusion". Common production techniques in epic theatre include simplified, non- realistic set designs and announcements or visual captions that interrupt and summarize the action. Brecht used comedy to distance his audiences from emotional or serious events and was heavily influenced by musicals and fairground performers, including music and song in his plays. This collection of objects negotiates the space like characters on stage, each with it´s own narrative, taking a certain position within the group. On closer inspection the works reveal themselves as handmade in construction, their improvised nature allowing a discourse to take place.