Sprüth Magers

Reinhard Mucha

02 May - 21 Jun 2014

File 1 / Datei 1: RMU_Frankfurter_Block_2012_Detail_Untitled.jpg
English version / Englische Version:
Frankfurter Block, 2012
Work ensemble (detail)
Untitled (Head in the Sand – Kunsthalle Bielefeld – Created for the exhibition: „Ars Viva –
Sculptures and Installations by prizewinners selected by the Cultural Committee of German
Business within the Federation of German Industries BDI e. V.“ – 1981), [2012], 1982 (detail)
© Reinhard Mucha
Courtesy the artist / Sprüth Magers Berlin London / Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt am Main
Reinhard Mucha
Frankfurter Block
Arbeiten am Hohlkasten 1981-2014
02/05/2014 - 30/08/2014
Reinhard Mucha subjects his work again and again to critical revision, conversion and extension. In
the course of the re-enactment of each work from exhibition to exhibition he enacts an accumulation
of space and time, and this process takes place in his first exhibition at Sprüth Magers, Berlin. The
core of the exhibition is a large work called Frankfurter Block, which was first presented as an
ensemble of eleven works at Galerie Grässlin, Frankfurt in 2012. For the Berlin show, Mucha
recreated the scale and proportions of the main room of Galerie Grässlin, building a gallery within
the main space of Sprüth Magers. The artist added interior details, such as a carpeted floor and
linen-clad walls, referring to the “Block Beuys”, a seven-room installation by Joseph Beuys that was
for many years on display at the Hessisches Landesmuseum, but now dismantled. This new
incarnation of Frankfurter Block incorporates the gallery in which it was most recently exhibited,
further extending the scope and scale of the work.
The complete Frankfurter Block is composed of an ensemble of discrete works, but it originates 30
years ago with Untitled (Head in Sand – Kunsthalle Bielefeld – Created for the exhibition: „Ars Viva
– Sculpture and Installations by prize- winners selected by the Cultural Committee of German
Business within the Federation of German Industries BDI e.V. “ – 1981), [2012], 1982. This work
began with a simple gesture: Mucha filled out and mailed several hundred coupons, cut from
newspapers, requesting material from a range of companies. In 1981, 99 photocopies of the order
forms were framed in silver, which referred to the architecture of the exhibition space at the
Kunsthalle Bielefeld. At that time, these copies were hung on one of the canvas-covered walls of the
museum, while the approximately 600 unopened envelopes were stacked in a display case. The
proliferation and arbitrariness of the data gathered in this way undercuts the customer and
marketing profiles sought by corporations. One year later, in 1982, Mucha stored the 99 framed
coupons along with the unopened letters in four display cases for “Junge Kunst in Deutschland –
Privat gefördert” a group show for sixteen artists on a privately funded stipend, which was presented
at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, the Lenbachhaus, Munich, and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. An
installation view from the exhibition in Bielefeld was added to the four showcases, and each was
placed on sixteen footstools (one per leg of each showcase), with the footstools acting as stand-ins
for the sixteen artists in this exhibition. In 2012, Mucha expanded the ensemble by installing four
video monitors beneath the display cabinets, showing animated photographs of the three
exhibitions. The footstools and the anarchic background noise of skateboarders combine to work
against any institutionalisation of the work.
Frankfurter Block is further extended by four more works within the space. Placed next to the core
installation of showcases, [Capriccio] - How a Dead Hare Operates with Pictures, 2012 alludes
not only to Beuys, but also to the mechanisms inherent to exhibitions: the glass cabinet contains two
horizontal plinths, each on a dolly, while on the floor adjacent lies a rolled-up blanket from the
transport company Hasenkamp. In Knowing whereby, not knowing wherewith. Knowing
whereto, not knowing whereat., [2007], 1983, the artist’s hand presents an empty chocolate box
against a mirror. The brightly shimmering box seems to promise choice and individuality, yet only
offers a set number of shapes within a system. Nearby, Seelze [2014], 2012 brings to mind the
minimalist sculptures of Donald Judd. The zinc tub, a found piece which is framed by a steel
construction and whose bottom is lined with felt, has been closed off by a glass panel painted, on
the side facing the sculpture, with lines.
Mucha's student years at the art academy is the key motif in The Clever Servant (Ohne Titel –
Staatliche Kunstakademie – Düsseldorf – 1981), 2002. Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung, Rose-Maria Groop describes the work: “Behind a glass panel four meters wide, in oldfashioned
typography, is the eponymous fairy tale by the Grimm brothers about the servant who
finds three blackbirds in the forest instead of searching for the cow of his master. On a screen next
to the fairy tale, a young man rolls and leaps in an endless loop, seeming to foment rebellion in a
Beyond the walls of Frankfurter Block, Untitled (MILCH), 1:1 model of the eliminated competition
entry to „Kunst am Bau – Eingeladener Wettbewerb“ for the Volkswagen University Library of the
Berlin Institute of Technology (TU) and the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK)), 2004 - [2014],
1979, an almost eight-meter-long sculpture, exemplifies Mucha’s use of the box girder or
“Hohlkasten”. A technical term from bridge building, the box section allows for the construction of
complex integrated structures, and thus offers a metaphor for how Mucha conceives so much of his
work. At the same time, this work is an example of the patience that informs Mucha’s process. The
artist had the initial idea in 1979, revived it for a proposal for a site-specific commission for the
Volkswagenbibliothek Berlin in 2004, and produced it for the exhibition at Sprüth Magers.
In 2012 in Die Welt am Sonntag, Hans-Joachim Müller speaks of Mucha's “individual manner of
sensuous thoughtfulness. [...] When Mucha makes art, he does not produce tangible proximity, but
instead distance that is thought.” In addition to the aspect of sensuousness, Müller emphasizes the
temporal element: “If this work is unified by one thing, then it is the compression of time to which it
constantly returns. Mucha impedes the flow of time, thickens it with his home-made preservatives
[...] the artistic attitude accordingly becomes always a sort of active resistance to the centrifugal
forces of history.”
Sprüth Magers Berlin is concurrently presenting the solo exhibitions 'Eine Ansammlung von
Gegenständen' by Peter Fischli & David Weiss and 'Hustlers' by Philip-Lorca diCorcia.

Tags: Joseph Beuys, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Donald Judd, Reinhard Mucha, Fischli & Weiss