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7Treated Wood

Michael Beutler
2015, Wood

Treated Wood

In front of the energy and infrastructure buildings on the south side of campus you will see the open wooden construction ”Treated Wood”, by Michael Beutler. This is a square, covered wooden building with a path around it and a courtyard.

Michael Beutler was born in Oldenburg in 1976. He studied at the ”Städelschule” in Frankfurt on the Main and the School of Arts in Glasgow. In 2016-17 he held a guest professorship at the Muthesius Conservatory of Arts in Kiel. He has been Professor for Introduction to Artist Works at the College of Fine Arts in Hamburg since 2019. His works have won many awards and can be seen in solo and collective exhibits in Germany and abroad. The artist currently lives and works in Berlin.

”Treated Wood” won an ”Kunst am Bau” contest. The logs that form the building were previously heated in the nearby storage facility to see if this would preserve them for a longer period of time. The wooden structure is open and in its courtyard, campus staff can enjoy outdoor sports activities, seminars and discussions, or simply relax and meditate there.

Treated Wood detail

Beutler often ”treats” his materials. He uses everyday substances such as wood, plastics or glass and applies experimental processes to them that change their structure and cause viewers to question their everyday nature. His large installations make use of space in ways that invite viewers to investigate familiar objects and assign them new meaning.

Here the material and the way it has been worked can be seen as an allegory for the energy and infrastructure center. Beutler took the natural material of wood and exposed it to energy in the form of heat. Instead of burning the wood, the intent behind this was to lengthen its lifespan. One way to understand this is that human intervention has taken the original object, conserved it, and produced an infrastructure that visitors and campus workers can use however they see fit. Another possible interpretation is that the wood is an allegory for the storage of data. While in the neighboring buildings data is stored in huge servers, ”Treated wood” stores them in wood.

You can find an interview with Michael Beutler here