"Befindlichkeiten gegen die Nullachse und anderer atmosphärischer Druck" (Sensitivities Against the Zero Axis and Other Atmospheric Pressure)
13. September - 25. Oktober 2008
Michael Müller's new installation can be regarded as his hitherto most complex and sophisticated piece. The title already makes it clear that a friction between objective, abstract and subjective, emotional modes of describing reality exists here
For quite some time now, the German-Indian artist Michael Müller has been dealing with the visualization of notions and facts that are difficult to grasp and yet can probably not be described in any other way than as in the form of an image.
Translation appears to be the overarching theme of most of his works. This means, quite literally, translation from one language into another - for example, the long-term project involving the transcription script "K4" which he himself developed - but also translation understood in the vein of transference, from one level of reality to another. His projects can generally be outlined as follows: rendering abstract ideas such as mathematical functions or physical phenomena concrete and vivid; things and impressions that quickly elude the mind and can only be arduously reconstructed with its help; drawing diagonal, pointed lanes into the common understanding of reality with the axes of space and time. With his preference for drawing and writing, Müller not only makes use of two of the most common cultural techniques, he also seeks - with an extremely high degree of concentration - to bring them to the point at which, on the one hand, they again step out of the habitual sleep of what is allegedly known, as valuable means of cognition, and, on the other, visualize a "parallel axis" to the line of life, as physically finite activities consuming one's lifetime.
His work with these fragmented citations, which tends to be nervous and physically strained, is perhaps most obvious in the hatching drawings done with pencil that resemble clouds and other atmospheric manifestations - works that are situated precisely on the border between drawing and writing.
Michael Müller arranges different translated versions and editions of a biographical novel titled "Biographie von Kautschuk" (Biography of Natural Rubber), from which he extrapolates elements, figures and forms. The novel is an autobiographical fragment and as such bears literary testimony to an encounter between Western and Eastern cultures - in an "intermediate area" that today can be termed postcolonial, but of which it is not clear what can follow its "post". The confusing complicatedness of the hierarchical, ethnic and gender relations, and the associated feelings the fragment gives rise to, attain something pictorial in the dialogues. Moreover, with the example of a cultural history of natural rubber extraction under colonial conditions and the further development of table tennis which it enabled - rubber allowed the bats to be coated, making the sequences of motion precise in a technically novel way, accelerating them and making them unpredictably nonlinear - a meta-narrative is introduced that, in its various manifestations as drawing, sculpture, abstract painting, and print, elucidates the basic structure of Michael Müller's "endeavour".
He not only speaks about resources as the leading sediments of a political history - through his analogous conclusion his own ("authentic") history of identity is made experienceable and manipulable as a resource. The tiniest details of form, translation and arrangement found in the installation provoke critical questions pertaining to the auctorial nature of the ensemble, but also to the precision that autobiographical and historico-cultural discourses are able to generate in the first place. Basically, the evolving level of critique, which is ambivalent because it is itself extremely involved, is directed towards a mode of thought for which everything becomes a resource.
MICHAEL MÜLLER Press Release as pdf-File 30,8 KB