Tobias Putrih / Slovenia b. 1972 / Connection (installation view) 2004 / Cardboard on plywood / 740cm (height) (variable to a maximum height of 800cm) / Purchased 2008 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Tobias Putrih

Tobias Putrih
Connection 2004

Not Currently on Display

Connection 2004 is constructed from connected cardboard boxes, diminishing slightly in size so that each box fits into the preceding one, playfully undermining both the structural principle of the arch and the heroic dimensions associated with bridges, cathedrals and victory arches.

The inherent paradox of a monumental and stable architectural form made of something as impermanent as cardboard is typical of Tobias Putrih’s approach to sculpture — as an experimental and constructive process rather than a resolved form.

Connection emerged from these concerns, referencing the Finnish–American architect Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St Louis, Missouri, completed in the 1960s. Putrih described this as being ‘not only a monument to Thomas Jefferson and the nation, but also to the modern age’.1 The artist’s sculpture echoes this structure while introducing an element of irony.


1. Tobias Putrih, quoted in Evence Verdier, ‘Putrih the anarchitect’, art press, no.300, 2004, p.49.

Tobias Putrih was born in Kranj, Slovenia, in 1972. He graduated from Ljubljana’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1997 and studied at the prestigious Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in 1997–98. Putrih has exhibited regularly across Europe since the mid 1990s but came to broader international attention in 2002 with his inclusion in ‘Manifesta 4′ in Frankfurt, Germany.

Based in New York City since 2004, in 2005 he was included in MoMA PS1′s annual survey exhibition, ‘Greater New York’. Putrih’s work is held in the collections of MoMA, the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand Duc Jean in Luxembourg, and several important private collections in the United States.