Manuel Graf at Leopold-Hösch-Museum

Artist: Manuel Graf

Exhibition title: Mixed-Use

Venue: Leopold-Hösch-Museum, Düren, Germany

Date: June 24 – September 9, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Van Horn Galerie

Time is a flat circle” Rustin Cohle in True Detective

In his sixth institutional soloshow Manuel Graf plays a game of difference and repetition. In the churchlike wing of the museum he presents sculptures and reliefs that remind us of architectural ornaments and gothic gargoyles. However, choosing particular materials and motivs like telephones combined with antique sculptures, the artist engages clearly in a postmodern language.

In the basement of the museum Graf shows an animated film, a `Making-Of´ of the sculptures in the museum upstairs. The inhaling and exhaling of the material during the process of thermoforming, thus “animating” the sculptures, turns this `Making-Of´ into a ghost story. The actual sculptures and the film of them can never be seen together – one always being a memory projected onto the other – physical and virtual not as two sides of the same reality but as repetition distorted through memory.

The films title “The Castle of Otranto” is another component in Graf´s game of difference and repetition. From 1764, the novel marks the start of the so-called “gothik revival”. Although written in the century of enlightenment it indulges in ideas of inevitable destiny. No matter which door is opened by the characters of the novel they will always encounter another limb of the sleeping giant, literally inhabiting the castle and finally breaking it apart by waking up.

This interplay of sculptural practice and software-based animation that is typical for Graf´s work shows a new facet in Düren. The seemless Copy-pasting which is possible in software is now mirrored in the Copy-pasting of different materials and motivs, then homogenized under the milk-like surface of the thermoformed reliefs. As Sam Jacob puts it brilliantly: Could the ghost of Postmodernism help us escape fates of tragedy and farce? Could Postmodernism´s ghost fulfill its destiny more fully than it ever could in its original form?

Born in 1978, Manuel Graf lives and works in Düsseldorf. In addition to institutional solo exhibitions at Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Kunstverein Hamburg, Kunsthaus Baselland, Etablissement d´en face, Brussels, Kunstverein Göttingen his work was presented in numerous international institutions like MoCa Taipei, ARKO, Seoul, Stoschek Collection, Berlin/Düsseldorf, ICA, London, Palais de Tokyo, Augarten Contemporary, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, etc.

Manuel Graf, Mixed-Use, 2018, exhibition view, Leopold-Hösch-Museum, Düren, Germany

Manuel Graf, Mixed-Use, 2018, exhibition view, Leopold-Hösch-Museum, Düren, Germany

Manuel Graf, Not in my House, 2018, Thermoformed copolyester, metal frame, 105 x 65 x 60 cm, chains variable

Manuel Graf, Not in my House, 2018, Thermoformed copolyester, metal frame, 105 x 65 x 60 cm, chains variable

Manuel Graf, Not in my House, 2018, Thermoformed copolyester, metal frame, 105 x 65 x 60 cm, chains variable

Manuel Graf, Mixed-Use, 2018, exhibition view, Leopold-Hösch-Museum, Düren, Germany

Manuel Graf, The Mountain King, 2018, Thermoformed copolyester, metal cage, 210 x 65 x 65 cm

Manuel Graf, The Master Bedroom, 2018, Thermoformed copolyester, metal frame, 105 x 65 x 60 cm, chains variable

Manuel Graf, Mixed-Use, 2018, exhibition view, Leopold-Hösch-Museum, Düren, Germany

Manuel Graf, Old World Problems, 2018, Thermoformed copolyester, metal frame, 105 x 65 x 60 cm, chains variable

Manuel Graf, We update you religiously, 2018, Thermoformed copolyester, metal frame, 310 x 65 x 15 cm

Manuel Graf, We update you religiously, 2018, Thermoformed copolyester, metal frame, 310 x 65 x 15 cm

Manuel Graf, Some Place Behind, 2018, Thermoformed copolyester, metal cage, 105 x 65 x 65 cm

Manuel Graf, Mixed-Use, 2018, exhibition view, Leopold-Hösch-Museum, Düren, Germany

Manuel Graf, PingPong, 2010, Plaster, wire, wood

Manuel Graf, Castle of Otranto, 2018, Animation film, 9:10 Minutes

Manuel Graf, Castle of Otranto, 2018, Animation film, 9:10 Minutes

Manuel Graf, Castle of Otranto, 2018, Animation film, 9:10 Minutes (excerpt)

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