Tremblin la fume
Copyright: Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte / Karl Heinrich Veith
2022, in situ
Height 95 cm
In La fumée ["Smoke"], as is often the case in Mathieu Tremblin's extraordinarily eclectic, conceptually oriented street art, the artist merges location, formalism, and socio-political commentary. The brick chimney in miniature is modeled after the huge smokestack of the blast furnaces of the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site. At the top of the miniature chimney, whence smoke should rise, smoke does rise—but not quite as anticipated and only when the intended interaction with the visitors takes place. Those who look closely will recognize, at the top of the smokestack, small notches like those familiar from ashtrays. And with them, the shared act of "smoking" to which the artist winkingly refers takes on a social and political dimension. "Within the context of the 'Uber-ization' of employment relationships, the cigarette break seems to be the last shared moment together that workers have left to talk about their alienated situation," says Tremblin. Therefore, and as is appropriate, the sculpture stands inside a shelter that was formerly used by the Völklinger Hütte steelworkers for smoking breaks.