Los Angeles – The first major North American exhibition of work by acclaimed Dutch artist Mark Manders, Mark Manders: Parallel Occurrences/Documented Assignments, opens this fall at the Hammer Museum and features a body of new sculptures and works on paper created specifically for this exhibit. Organized by Douglas Fogle, Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chief Curator at the Hammer, and Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Director, Aspen Art Museum, this exhibition includes roughly 15 new sculptural works and 3 loaned works, including a piece from the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition is accompanied by a full catalogue and following its debut at the Hammer, it will travel to the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Since 1986, Mark Manders has been engaged in an ongoing monumental project he refers to as his Self-Portrait as a Building, mapping his artistic persona through the creation of site-specific sculptural installations. This exhibition is the latest phase in the ongoing development of his Self- Portrait. Manders notes, “For the last twenty-one years, I have been working on a self portrait in the form of a building. The building is fiction, but everything inside exists in reality. The building is like a gigantic stage set frozen in time with lots of rooms that all seem as if they have just been abandoned. There is no distinction between works of, let’s say, fifteen years ago and a work I finished yesterday. They are placed in the same time frame. Like an encyclopedia, the building is always ready, even though it keeps on changing and growing or shrinking.” Each exhibition that Manders creates generates yet another room in his growing hypothetical building, while also creating an ever-evolving space through which we can collectively investigate our own relationship to the world of objects.
“Mark is quite well known in Europe but not widely recognized in the U.S. - we are very proud to be the first West Coast venue to exhibit him. Exhibitions like this are so important because they offer our audience in LA, particularly artists, an opportunity to see an international artist they might not otherwise easily experience,” remarks Hammer Director, Ann Philbin.
Taking the form of sculptures, installations, drawings, and projected imagery, Manders’ installations include existing and invented forms that fuse specific and seemingly incongruous iconographic elements —including figures, animals, household furniture, archaeological fragments, everyday objects, and architectural components—that create a kind of personal language in the form of a visual poetry. Manders’ attempts to get the viewer to see the world with fresh eyes by creating a constellation of objects that are strangely familiar yet somehow completely “other” is the larger social vision of his very personal attempt o render his self-portrait as a building. Manders’ sculptural practice is focused on his esire to bypass language in favor of directly translating his thoughts and obsessions into three dimensional objects and installations. He uses both found materials appropriated from the everyday world (sugar cubes, tea bags, pencils) while also fabricating elements that are made to look as if they were found or handmade, such as his signature “unfired clay figures” that are in fact rendered in epoxy. Bringing these materials together into uneasy proximity, the artist creates mysterious and uncanny sculptural tableaux that are one part still life and one part exquisite corpse.
“The first thing that struck me about Mark’s work is that is both personal and universal at the same time. He thinks about all his sculptures as a self-portrait, yet the forms his work takes – figures, furniture, fragments of buildings, and so on– have an almost mythical quality as if they were players in a vaguely familiar fairy tale that we can’t quite identify,” says Douglas Fogle. “He thinks of his sculptures as the physical equivalent of poetry, putting one object next to another as a poet would do with words.”
Manders’ ability to make the familiar take on the characteristics of the strange, is integral to is work as he takes seemingly everyday objects, isolates them from their original function, and makes them come alive. He imbues the banality of objects with a poetic tension while creating a physical as well as a mental space for the viewer to “enter the world of objects and matter and find poetry in it... and to know how poorly we normally see our daily life.”
This exhibition will travel to the Aspen Art Museum from February 17 – May 8, 2011; the Walker Art Center from July 9 – November 6, 2011; and other venues to be announced.
Members' opening is on Friday, September 24, 2010.
About Mark Manders
Born in 1968, Manders lives and works in Arnhem, the Netherlands, and Ronse, Belgium. He has shown widely in group exhibitions around the world including the Venice Biennale, Documenta, the Berlin Biennal, and the Carnegie International. His solo exhibition The Absence of Mark Manders was shown at the Kunstverein Hannover in 2008.
Public Programs and Catalogue
Mark Manders: Parallel Occurrences/Documented Assignments will be accompanied by free public programs, as well as an extensive fully illustrated catalogue with essays by the curators as well as critics and art historians.
Mark Manders: Parallel Occurrences/Documented Assignments was co-organized by the Aspen Art Museum and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. The presentation at the Hammer is made possible through the generosity of Rosette Varda Delug. It is also supported, in part, by the Mondriaan Foundation and with public funds from the Netherlands Cultural Services (New York).
89.3 KPCC FM is the official media sponsor of the exhibition.