Through a multifaceted practice that embraces sculpture, installation, painting, and drawing, Schütte continually explores aspects of the human condition. Emerging a generation after Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, and Sigmar Polke, German artists who mined their country’s fascist past, Schütte taps into history in more subtle ways.
These drawings illustrate the concept for Schütte’s 1990 exhibition Seven Fields, and they appeared on the show's promotional material. The seven images each correspond to one of the seven spaces in the exhibition. In each of these spaces, Schütte investigated a different field of inquiry, emblematized in the drawings by a lemon, rings, an architectural model, and a portrait of Alain Colas—the French sailor who never returned from his 1978 attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean alone—among others. That these fields of investigation appear random and disconnected is part of Schütte's message; what drives his art is the notion that images no longer support universal meaning as they once could. Instead of constructing monuments glorifying universal experience, Schütte creates anti-monuments to everyday life and the complexities of human existence—our disappointments as well as our hopes.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 94.