Artist: Ute Müller
Venue: Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst & Medien, Graz, Austria
Date: December 8, 2017 – January 25, 2018
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst & Medien
Ambivalence as a stance and impetus in seeking form and anti-form play a decisive role for Ute Müller: be it casts of negative forms of almost recognizable objects or arrangements of found, easy-to-change, and thus differently charged things. The artist makes comprehensible the process of formation; she varies materials and combines references without allowing anything specific to be missed when grappling with form, idea, and presentation. The categories of space and time are vital for the artist.
In her sculptures and spatial installations, Ute Müller also remains faithful to her discreet and restrained color palette. Allusions, smudging, and overpainting are situated adjacent to well-contoured forms and clearly emerging visual symbols. The artist varies her painterly vocabulary, yet allows previously created material to be repeated, or—subjected to subtle manipulations—to reappear in a different guise. It is with the dampened chromaticity of gray and blue shades that she evidences the temporal process underlying her work. Spatiality is fostered by the overlaying of thin layers of paint. The individual paint layers differ in their intensity; they are superimposed and thus evoke a sense of spatial depth. As such, painterly markings spectrally emerge at times from below.
Also in her sculptures and spatial installations Ute Müller remains faithful to her discreet and restrained color palette. It is noticeable how she invokes a conceptually set language of form. The shapes she selects appear again and again, in different states, both in the paintings and the sculptures. Forms from her paintings reemerge in various sculptures. By implementing different materials and their specific qualities, the artist succeeds in eliciting changes in perception, often of a very subtle nature. Plaster molds stand next to glass, rough surfaces lend emphasis to the tactile qualities of the material, and mirroring effects underscore the changes on the visual level.
Ute Müller combines paintings, sculptures, and installative assemblies to create complex spaces of agency. For Room C at the Künstlerhaus, which is structured by its pillars, the artist has designed an environment in which the paintings and the sculptures interrelate, but also the curved walls placed throughout the room engage with the shown exhibits. The mediums of painting and sculpture thus meet and make connections. Forms remain engrained in memory and become memory pictures that reappear elsewhere as visual symbols. The impulse to decode the language of form employed by Müller illustrates how her works have a linguistic dimension that can immerse the beholder in action. Thus a sense of activation is set in motion that counters contemplative reception. Ute Müller’s exhibition becomes a place of possible activity.
Ute Müller (b. 1978 in Graz, lives in Vienna) studied at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and at the Royal College of Art in London. She is a founding member of Black Pages: http://www.blackpages.at.
Exhibitions (selection): Taxispalais – Kunsthalle Tirol, Établissement d‘en face Brüssel, Kunsthalle Wien, Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin, Museum für angewandte Kunst Wien, Tiroler Künstlerschaft – Kunstpavillon Innsbruck, Galerie Kunstbuero Wien (solo), Nomas Foundation Rom, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Galerie Kamm Berlin, Künstlerhaus – Halle für Kunst & Medien Graz, Galleria Collicaligreggi Catania (solo), 21er Haus Wien, Pigna Project Space Rom, Kumho Museum Seoul, Galerie Dana Charkasi Wien (solo), Künstlerhaus Wien, Künstlerhaus Klagenfurt (solo), NJP Art Center Seoul.
The exhibition is accompanied by contributions in the KM– Online Journal, including an interview with Ute Müller by Dominikus Müller (forthcoming): http://journal.km-k.at/.