Jürgen Stollhans

Jürgen Stollhans: Weit werden wir nicht kommen (We won´t be coming far), 2018
Emulsion paint on canvas
Courtesy the artist

Weit werden wir nicht kommen (We won´t be coming far)

The colorful truck on a white background poses a riddle. It is composed of numbers, Chinese characters and shapes that, like the hubcap, are figurative and abstract at the same time. Even more remains ambiguous. In the case of the driver’s cab, for example, it is not possible to decide whether it is open or closed, and the cargo area is not a room but consists of two color fields. One bears the cryptic inscription: “We can’t do any advertising”.
The truck is not just any truck. It belongs to the “3-ton class” and was built by the German Ford-Werke AG for the Wehrmacht in the 1930s and 40s. Henry Ford is a mythical figure in the history of industrial capitalism. The form of production based on rationalization and standardization is named after him (“Fordism”). Ford’s sympathy for the National Socialists has also been handed down. His portrait was on Hitler’s desk.
But what does the Chinese inscription have to do with the political history of the truck? How does China rhyme with capitalism and totalitarianism? Questions upon questions.