Porcelain plate, kettle, hose, sneaker filled with dry peas
60 x 60 x 15 cm
Inv. no. 5004
Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen
Permanent loan from the State of NRW (formerly Ruepp Collection)
1932, Leverkusen (DE) – 1998, Berlin (DE)
Wolf Vostell was one of the most versatile German artists of the 1960s and used a wide variety of media, such as happenings, environments, and object assemblages, to critically examine current events and social issues. For Vostell, the term “décollage” (French: to detach, separate) became the byword of his artistic practice. Here, décollage is not only understood as the mere physical act of tearing off (posters), but also as a process of uncovering hidden levels of meaning and mental layers. The viewer’s participation is always a prerequisite and essential component of his art.
In Erbsentennisdampfschuh (Peatennissteamshoe, 1967), Vostell combines conventional everyday objects such as a kettle, a sneaker, and dried peas in an unusual way. When the viewer engages with the artwork and applies the necessary mental energy to heat the kettle, it sets a process in motion whereby the pressure of the water vapor causes the peas to shoot out of the opening in the sneaker like small projectiles (as in a ball-throwing machine). The curious, seemingly harmless arrangement reveals itself to be a potential weapon.