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Michael Müller: Three Biographical Attempts

15 September 2021 - 6 November 2021

Free

EVENT DESCRIPTION

Galerie du Monde is pleased to present groundbreaking German artist Michael Müller’s three-chapter solo exhibition series Drei biographische Versuche [en: Three Biographical Attempts] in Hong Kong from September 2021 to March 2022.
Michael Müller (b. 1970) grew up in Germany, and the discovery of his Indian ancestry was the initiation for his artistic work. The constant navigation between Western and Eastern culture influenced the individual and collective identity of Müller. Through his imagination, Müller presents the connections and differences, creating new pathways between intellectual terrains that are diametrically different and yet strangely complement one another. Müller’s work is deeply rooted in art history, and he merges philosophical thoughts with the personal, inviting the viewer to contemplate his larger metaphysical search for the self.

The Drei biographische Versuche exhibition series is like Müller’s personal diary from the past three decades. Through each chapter, Müller unveils his journey of self-discovery, embracing change, and self-creation.

On 15 September, the first chapter Gefüge – Gefühl und Genauigkeit [en: Structure – Feeling and Accuracy] debuts in Hong Kong featuring a new series of abstract paintings entitled Im Garten des Chán (West-östliche Bewegung) [en: In the Garden of Chán (West-Eastern Movement)], presented with a series of early works which include sets of drawings, two installations and a video.

Three Biographical Attempts
Chapter I.: Structure – Feeling and Accuracy
In the first chapter, Müller revisits his journey to Ladakh in the 1990s – a former kingdom in the high Himalayas, located in the west of Tibet. It was Müller’s first time in India, to find his Asian roots. Müller spent a year in the Alchi Monastery in Ladakh, it was a life-defining trip. He was confronted with a dilemma: The Buddhist concept of letting go of one’s ego, against developing his unique artistic identity. The pilgrimage to Mount Kailash was instrumental to his self-discovery.

While trekking through the highlands of Himalaya, Müller has developed a fascination with observing clouds, and the ever-changing shapes of clouds. For Müller, clouds are “shifters” – like everything in life, including the “I” that we try to discover. Müller firmly believes that the self is fluid – our mindset, identities, emotions, realities, everything. How do we make sense in this fluid state? This is a key question for Müller in his artistic practice, which will be elaborated in the second chapter of the exhibition series: Der Wolkenvermesser [en: The Cloud Surveyor].

Two installations are presented in the first chapter. Gebeine (2012), which means “bones”, features a pair of sculpture made of clay, wax and ink in the form of legs – refers to the practice of sky burial. It is a funeral practice in which a human corpse is deconstructed into parts by a monk and placed on a mountaintop to decompose or to be eaten by birds. Tibetan Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and sky burial is a teaching on the impermanence of life.
The second installation Innen und Außen, unbekannt (2013) [en: Inside and Outside, unknown], features two archaic rocks and a set of stone-like looking objects made of ceramics and sponges. Sponge is an absorbent material and could be cut into various shapes. Müller uses sponges as a symbolism for humans. What is fueling our soul? What is the tension between our inner self and outer self? How do we present our “self” to the world? We learn, we read, we experience – throughout life we “absorb” different elements and self-create our unique and fluid self.

The re-forming of materials and the recoding of assumptions are viable instruction manuals for accessing Müller’s work. His work also draws out how abstraction is related to agency and logic. With multi-part work The Attempt to be Abstract Under Hypnosis (1) / to breathe (5) (2007), the video documents the process of producing the drawings, which Müller did under hypnosis, having set himself the task of reproducing the first drawing as true to the original as possible. Throughout his artistic practice, Müller tries to dismantle prevalent repertories of thought. He generates resistance and reassembles them.

Details

Start:
15 September 2021
End:
6 November 2021
Admission:
Free
Event Category:
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