Art critique

Shop the Show: New Sculptures by German Artist Meuser Playfully Critique the Legacy of North American Minimalism

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What would you like to know: The mononym GGerman artist Meuser presents 14 recent sculptures in “Close to the Material” at Galerie Nordenhake in Mexico City. Crafted primarily from crumpled sheet steel, the assemblage sculptures are dotted with brown, gray and ocher paints and complemented by found industrial materials. A pupil of Joseph Beuys and frequent collaborator of Martin Kippenberger in the 1980s, Meuser creates an art that borders on sculpture, painting and installation. His works are often seen as a reassessment of the material waste left by industrialization, especially in his native Germany. “Close to the Material” marks the artist’s eighth exhibition with the Nordenhake Gallery but his first exhibition at their location in Mexico City.

Why we love it: Meuser’s sculptures playfully criticize North American minimalism. He assembles prefabricated and found elements in gestures that recall the collage and the found object. Rather than emphasizing the hardness and resistance of the materials, Meuser instead focuses on the flexibility and softness of his found objects.

What the gallery says: “The titles of the works are very important; they are almost impossible to translate as they suggest a peculiar humor of an industrial mining region in Germany. The titles of the sculptures form a sort of sarcastic tale.It was very interesting for us to translate the titles of some of the sculptures. For example, the sculpture with the title Pi mal Daumen—there is no way to literally translate the idiom. Rather, we have tried to address the experience he describes and have chosen to translate it as “rule of thumb” in English and “A ojo de buen cubero” in Spanish. Although there is an idea of ​​the untranslatable in Meuser’s work, it was important for us to bring the public closer to the sculptures through translation. It was certainly very interesting to read and explain Meuser’s work in the Mexican context, ”said Hebe Garibay, who organized the exhibition.

Manneken-pis (2020)
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Meuser, Manneken-pis (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

Pi evil Daumen (2020)
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Meuser, Pi mal Daumen (2020).  Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

Meuser, Pi evil Daumen (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

Untitled (2020)
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Meuser, Untitled (2020).  Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

Meuser, Untitled (2020). Courtesy of Galerie Nordenhake.

“Meuser: Close to the Material” is on view at Galerie Nordenhake, Mexico City, until June 20, 2021.

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