“Maria Eichhorn & Asta Gröting”
Kunsthal 44 Møen shows the two German artists Maria Eichhorn and Asta Gröting parallel in the late summer. The two women, both with promising international careers, are exhibiting sculpture, installation and video. Objects that point to our surroundings and make us pay special attention to the things we normally take for granted.
Maria Eichhorn often conceptualizes the economic, social and political relations that determine the conditions for artistic production. From a standpoint that is rooted in conceptual art and Fluxus, Eichhorn turns exhibition spaces and art institutions inside out. Most recently in the solo exhibition Zimmerstrasse 88/89, 10117 Berlin at Galerie Barbara Weiss she focused on a gallery room that had to move, because thrifty investors wanted to convert the building in Berlins Mitte to a hotel. As in many other cities, is there only temporarily room for the arts but when the price of real estate goes up, the art has to move on. From that exhibition, Kunsthal 44 Møen will show Großer Besen, 2011, an oversized broom.
Another work by Eichhorn in the exhibition is Prohibited Imports (2003), which evolves around the theme of free press and freedom of speech and builds on the Japanese customs practice of censoring imported books. From 2000-2002 Eichhorn sends book packages from Berlin to Tokyo – among other things a monograph by Robert Mapplethorpe, Mapplethorpe. Die große Werkmonographie. Upon receipt the Japanese customs opened the books and censored all sexual elements out of the books, this was done with the help of sandpaper to remove the layers of offset printing and the surface of the paper. In Eichhorns presentation of the Mapplethorpe monograph she adds a glass showcase with books about sexuality, art, freedom of speech and censorship. The original book by Mapplethorpe is placed on top.
72 pictures (1992/93) is a work which emerged during the exhibition Qui, Quoi, ou (22. 10. 1992 to 17. 1. 1993) at Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris within the work TOILE / PINCEAU / PEINTURE. In the beginning of the exhibition, which ran for 72 days, was in one of the exhibitionspaces called the fish tank, 72 primed canvasses (123×93 cm) in three rows against the wall, a chair, a table with three boxes filled with 72 different colored oil paints (Lukas Studio), 72 brushes, various paint tools and the book Scents and fragrances – the molecular world of odors for seduction. On the wall hung a calendar with a plan where 43 people, employees of the museum had volunteered, to pick a color for a certain day and paint a canvas in monochrome. Each canvas had on the back, analogous to the calendar, name and date noted. The resources in the beginning of the exhibition were slowly used, in the end 72 canvases were hanging on the wall. At 44 Møen the pictures will be stored in an archive and will be hung on rotation in the exhibition room during the course of the exhibition.
Asta Gröting was already received as one of the leading positions in sculpture in the 1980s and has throughout exhibited world-wide. In the 1990s her work was marked by a media turn to the field of video art. Recently Gröting has again increasingly devoted her attention to the production of objects. The present exhibition reflects this direction with works from the 1980s up to newly produced works. In her titles, Gröting is quite blunt. A few examples of her sculptures and installations in the exhibition: Faust (Fist, 2009), Acker, (Soil, 2007), Kartoffeln (Potatoes, 2006) Ja und Nein (Yes and No, 2007), Paarverhalten (Couple Behavior, 1989), Abformung einer Familie (Cast of a family, 2011), Space Between Lovers, (2008) Also the title of the video Gröting shows is given with the same directness: Eis (Ice, 1995). Gröting is not interested in riddles, she gives the thing a name. Exactly what it is: soil, potatoes, cast of a family.
Grötings characteristic method consists in that she frees herself from the initial object-which remains identifiable as a reference- she freely chooses her materials, changes sizes, turns the inside outside, and makes the invisible visible and then gives them titles as if it were all very easy. The semantic clarity of the titles communicates in a different way than the shape of the objects named. Many of the sculptures pretend to be easily recognizable, until upon closer inspection they rattle our certainty. Name, appearance, and meaning have to be shifted against one another by the beholder, tested out in this or that constellation. An example is Acker (Soil). In 2007 the artist cast a section of a field – roughly the size of a human – which had just been ploughed. “The acre is an archetype with respect to creating form. All of our nourishment comes from acres.” (Asta Gröting) In the work Space Between Lovers / Unfolded Gröting examines, as she often does, the human psyche. She materializes a moment in time, a fleeting trace of movement, the movement of two bodies. The negative form becomes a work; the mold, which plays an important role in the history of sculpture, beyond the status of an intermediary product, the cast, to take on a place all its own. “The work is about the space between two people that is filled with lots of things unsaid, and hidden that is part of every relationship.” (Asta Gröting)
The exhibition is curated by Kunsthal 44 Møens artistic director René Block.
Maria Eichhorn (born 1962) lives in Berlin. Works by Maria Eichhorn has just been shown in the exhibitions Freedom of Speech at Kunstverein Hamburg and un Exhibit at the Generali Foundation, Vienna (until July 17, 2011). The following public collections hold artworks by Maria Eichhorn: Berlinische Galerie, Berlin; Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart; Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin; Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, Vancouver; Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Stiftung Kunsthalle Bern, Bern;. Asta Gröting (born 1961) lives in Berlin and is a Professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig. Latest solo exhibitions : Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin (2010), Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz (2010), Henry Moore Sculpture Institute, Leeds (2009), MARTa, Herford (2006) and Freud Museum, London (2003).
I 2009 both artists were part of the exhibition Schönes Wetter heute, n’est pas, Henning? at Kunsthal 44 Møen. Gröting showed the video Parken (Parking, 2001) og the installation Affentanz (Monkey Dance,1987). Eichhorn Vier Multiples in Tasche (2009) an edition made for Edition Block, which is for sale at the exhibition.