Man Without Face


Patinated bronze on artist's steel base

223 × 80 cm (87 13/16 × 31 1/2 in.)

Man Without Face is a recent reinterpretation of one of Thomas Schütte's first figurations, which appeared on a small scale as early as 1982 and which he used in numerous series over the years. It is a male representation; the figure's legs seem to be stuck, freezing the model in his helpless, vulnerable condition. The fixity of this bogged down character who seems to be trapped in his immobility is eloquent; the face is absent, as if worn away.

The figure displays no expression, the smooth oval of the face is topped by a worn tricorn. The man holds his face firmly in his left hand: an injunction to engagement? A face like the allegory of a ballot paper, the memory of the protester's paving stone, their rock? Behind the mask of vanity, individuals are trapped in an unfathomable human condition, condemned to anonymity and oblivion. The vulnerability of the human being in the face of power games and socio-political systems, as well as the role of art, are at the heart of the artist's preoccupations: “My works have the purpose of placing a crooked question mark in the world.”