Artists: Claudia and Julia Müller
Venue: Maccarone, New York
Exhibition Title: Umkehrschub
Date: September 12 – October 17, 2015
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artists and Maccarone, New York.
Maccarone is pleased to present its second exhibition with the Swiss-born artists Claudia & Julia Müller, following their New York debut at the gallery in 2002. Umkehrschub features two large-scale wall drawings, an iconic part of the Müller sisters’ collaborative practice for over a decade, along with an arrangement of ceramic vessels from the last year and a set of 12 new silkscreen monoprint-on-canvas works.
With each of these works, the artists employ various processes of translation (statue becomes drawing; ceramic becomes canvas; print becomes painting) to create an oscillation between the static and dynamic. The artists characterize this energy shift with the aeronautics term umkehrschub, which refers to the reverse thrust of engine exhaust used to decelerate an aircraft during landing. Here, umkehrschub — in this case, the reversal of the energy of an image, material, or signifier — is an analytic tool by which the quotidian takes on new meaning and our understanding of images is altered.
While three-dimensional objects have frequently accompanied the sisters’ wall drawing installations, these new ceramics extend the notion of painting toward new surfaces — allowing them to use ceramic as canvas. Called “Blind Paintings,” these vessels manifest the artists’ embrace of a spirit of unpredictability. They nod to the process of painting and the intrinsically experimental nature of the method (whether it is strokes on a canvas or hands shaping clay). With these playful gestures, the artists point to artmaking as a kind of performance and to the potter as improvisationist.
The ceramics are indelibly shaped by their relationship with the wall drawing, which is populated by black-and-white renderings of classic statuary that float larger than life on the gallery walls. In the canvas works, too, photographs of nudes are adhered to the surface, mirroring the same dialogue that exists between the ceramic vessels and the wall drawing. The artists’ essentially dialogic technique utilizes poetic juxtaposition as a means of shifting our understanding of images’ meanings. The interplay between the artworks in the space is not unlike the collaborative practice itself — two entities coming together to create something new.
Claudia & Julia Müller, based in Basel and Berlin respectively, have been working collaboratively since 1992. The Müllers have exhibited extensively in Europe with major solo exhibitions at the Museum Franz Gertsch in Burgdorf, Switzerland; the Zeppelin Museum in Friedrichshafen, Germany; the Bonner Kunstverein in Bonn, Germany; the Grazer Kunstverein in Graz, Austria; the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Germany; the Kunstmuseum Thun in Switzerland; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain; and the Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland. A major monograph cataloguing the past ten years of their practice was published this year by argobooks.