United Enemy (Udo)


Fimo, fabric, wood, pvc pipe and glass dome

184 x diam. 25 cm

United Enemy (Udo) is a work from German artist Thomas Schütte's largest series of sculptures, United Enemy. The series began in 1992, while Schütte was in residence in Rome for six months, during which time a violent corruption scandal broke out. In response, the artist conceived a series of miniature puppets with grotesque and expressionist features that would leave a lasting impression on his practice.

These “united enemies” are exhibited under glass cloches placed on high PVC pedestals that give them the aura of scientific specimens. This staging is not intended to invite their worship: miniaturized and sealed in, they have the fragility of fallen idols, held in custody, placed under investigation.

Udo has a white head mottled with brownish purple with piercing blue beads for eyes, a body swaddled in a pale green robe, and a yellow shirt tied at the waist with a green ribbon. The arms are missing—as if straitjacketed—and the legs are reduced to a wooden tripod: a vulnerability at odds with the figure's authoritative frown.