Just as felt and grease are now inseparably associated with the artistic work of Joseph Beuys,or plates of steel with that of Richard Serra, the Red Couch has come to be identified with the name Horst Wackerbarth. This is both a blessing and a curse, says the artist.
On one hand the Red Couch made Wackerbarth well known and gave him the opportunity to create a corpus of work during his lifetime that will always be a chapter in the history of portrait art. He finds the thought that his work will remain long after his body has decayed somehow "sexy".
On the other hand he fears that his other projects which do not involve the couch might never find as much resonance in society as those that do – even though he has created a vast range of work that he deems equally worthy of being seen and acknowledged by the public.
One example from this group is his series “Paradise Now”, which transforms religious icons into a modern visual language. Wackerbarth’s message here is “Let us create Paradise NOW here on earth, and not wait for the hereafter.” This project long predates attempts by other artists to do similar work using religious iconography.
In his 1990 piece “Muse und Meister” (Muse and Master) Wackerbarth was one of the very first photographers ever to use a 55-year-old model in the studios of his artist friends, thereby creating a symbiosis of high fashion design and art.While on his travels, he has over the years shot many series of photographs using a car window to frame cityscape and landscape sequences.