Whether manifested through photography, video, sound, online work, drawing or installation, the work of Torsten Lauschmann (born Bad Soden, 1970, lives in Glasgow) is characterised by a thoroughly 21st-century approach to art-making. Lauschmann's eclectic, idiosyncratic and multifarious practice is not led by the desire to produce a single object or image, but by the artist's interconnected interests in the theoretical, the personal and the absurd.
Works by Lauschmann can appear to be the anomalous products of particular knowledge systems or technologies. One example is Fear Among Scientists (2008), in which the simple equation 3-1=2 is spelt out in roughly-hewn wooden numbers, but in which the shadows these objects cast – which the artist extends in matching grey paint – misbehave to produce impossible arithmetic. For sculptural installation Self-Portrait as a Pataphysical Object (2006), meanwhile, Lauschmann wryly presents himself as a suspended chandelier of sprawling coloured cables and audio adapters. The object's configuration, its mess of wires and connectors, is in excess of its functionality – although it does manage to produce a single shining bulb.
A similarly eccentric take on portraiture is offered by The Mathematician (2006). For this video Lauschmann spliced together audio interviews of Hungarian maths prodigy Pál Erdös, synching the sound with an animated face constructed entirely from numbers (evoking the work of New Yorker cartoonist Saul Steinberg). In the voiceover Erdös relates details from his life story – memories of nursery rhymes, of his social clumsiness, of his budding mathematical skills. Meanwhile his facial features – an 8 for his eyes and brow, a plus and minus sign for his pupils – nod, wink and frown in comic yet entirely human ways. The mathematician's quizzical and slightly dumbfounded attitude towards life is in contrast to his ease with maths and philosophy; a dynamic echoed in Lauschmann's own practice, in which the artist often inverts theory and reality – making the former concrete while fictionalising the latter.
Lauschmann's works are absurd, counter-intuitive and wayward, but also surprisingly humane. Whether orchestrating World Jump Day (2005) – in which participants were asked to jump simultaneously in order to alter the Earth's orbit, and therefore halt global warming – or conducting a European tour as solarpowered busker 'Slender Whiteman', Lauschmann's vast array of ideas transforms the exhibition site into a laboratory of unpredictable objects and visions.
Extending his interest in experimentation, and developing recent projection and wall painting installations from his solo show at Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, earlier this year, Lauschmann's Nought to Sixty project presents a slice of a multi-faceted practice informed by a playful but sincere inquisitiveness.