Charlotte Posenenske

Charlotte Posenenske (Germany, 1930-1985) is considered a key figure on the interface between Conceptual Art and Minimalism. Her work was brief yet powerful: she worked from 1959 to 1968.


Art as a social act

Posenenske departed from the idea that art shouldn't be created by and for individuals; it should be a social act with as large an impact as possible. Ideas such as changeability, participation and collaboration are central in her oeuvre. They originated in her conviction that art could influence social interaction or could draw attention to social inequality. As such, Posenenske became a forerunner of participative art. 

While other artists of the period worked in multiples (limited editions), Posenenske worked in series, without any limitation and following the principle of industrial production processes: the basic model (i.e. the concept) can be reproduced an infinite number of times. Posenenske rejected the commercial art market and offered her work for sale at its material cost. Because the artist isn't involved in the production process, the object doesn't have the status of an original and exclusive work of art. Only a certificate differentiates unsigned works from run-of-the-mill commodities. 


About the artwork

Square Tube Series D 1967-2016, 1967 – 2016 consists of a set of six hollow forms made from galvanised metal that resemble the industrial materials used to form ventilation pipes. The elements are modular so that the sculpture can be fashioned to fit the space where it is to be installed, even (and especially) outside the gallery environment. The number of elements that must be used for a new reconstruction is therefore not defined. Each work can be assembled as desired, thereby calling the idea of authorship into question.

In 1968, after writing her manifesto, Posenenske came to the conclusion that art was not the best instrument to achieve real social change. She stopped her artistic career and retrained as a sociologist. She mainly worked with unions after that.

Posenenske Charlotte, Square Tube Series D 1967-2016, 1967 – 2016 Courtesy estate Charlotte Posenenske. Photo: Ans Brys.




Against the façade of the Braem Pavilion


Galvanised metal

  • 2 x Quadratrohr / Square Tube: each 50 x 92 x 50 cm
  • 1 x Kubusrohr / Cubic Tube: 50 x 46 x 50 cm
  • 1 x Richtungsänderung / Change of direction: 50 x 83 x 35 cm
  • 1 x Verzweigung / T-Piece: 50 x 66 x 58 cm

This perpetual loan was made possible thanks to the expert mediation of Dr. Burkhard Brunn (Estate Charlotte Posenenske), Gallery Sofie Van de Velde and Galerie Mehdi Chouakri.