On the whole, my works present a humorous critique of corporate bureaucracy. The objects and materials incorporated are typically found within the institutional setting of the office space. They range from an ordinary office plant, cream-coloured carpeting, or a standard beige box fan to a uniform, avocado green wall-mounted telephone or a hand dryer. In their institutional habitat, the sole purpose of the existence of these objects seems to be to organize human activity, to maximize efficiency, maintain order and thus aid in the imposition of a rule-based hierarchical system of rational control.
What happens though, if said objects refuse to conform to their standard mode of operation?
In my installations, objects are activated through subtle interventions, such as shifts in scale, material transformations and re-contextualization. The mechanisms of business break down, as the objects used display a rebelliousness that could potentially pose a threat to the institutional order: intentionally bland beige carpeting has an anarchy symbol shaved into its fibres; a larger-than-life photograph of a small box fan filled with concrete; and an HVAC emits muffled fragments of the song “Dangerous” by Swedish 80s pop band Roxette.Instead of promoting an efficient work-flow, these objects are unruly. They break down, become dysfunctional and fail to fulfil their purpose. Yet, I believe, it is exactly their failure that holds their potential to subvert the systems and structures they are supposed to perpetuate from within.
In particular, my interdisciplinary work, which includes sculpture, photography, drawing and sound, references the evolution of office design, furniture and culture and its relationship to systems of economic production from capitalism and post-capitalism to neoliberalism. I believe that changes in office design throughout the decades are not only reflective of a transformation of the larger economic structure and mode of production, but actively perpetuate hierarchies of class, gender and race at the micro level of the office.
While the objects chosen may represent small acts of resistance, they are ultimately humble and of a contradictory, unstable nature. Keenly aware of the potential futility of their rebellious gestures when seen within the lager context of corporate business, they hover in the gray area between defiance and failure, transgression and pathos. They may not be able to trigger an office revolution, but the awkward self-awareness with which they present themselves, potentially destabilises any notion of a natural authority and inevitability of an otherwise unyielding, hierarchical and oppressive bureaucratic system.
BioSandra Erbacher is a German artist living and working in Providence, RI. She has earned her BFA from Camberwell College of Art, London (2009) and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2014). She has exhibited nationally and internationally, at Spring/Break, NYC, Grin Providence, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, the Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Mana Contemporary Chicago, Circuit 12 Contemporary, Dallas, The Contemporary, London, Kunstverein Speyer, Germany, Umbrella Gallery, Leeds, and Five Years, London. She is the recipient of the 2014 Chazen Prize to an Outstanding MFA Student, a University of Wisconsin fellowship and the Blink Grant for Public Art 2013.
Her work is included in the Fidelity Investments Corporate Art Collection and numerous other private collections.
She is represented by Grin, Providence.