Wenn es am Montag nicht besser wird, rufen Sie noch mal an II, 2002

Meuser »säen spritzen hacken«

Berlin , October 17, 2002 - November 30, 2002

Meuser belongs to a generation of German artists, such as Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Günther Förg, which made its breakthrough on the international arena in the early 80s in the wake of (and as students to) Joseph Beuys. Meuser's works are to a large extent characterised by a play between oppositions. There is ambivalence between lightness and weight at play in almost all of his works. There is also a tension between a seemingly abstract expression in his pieces and the material that in a direct and unveiled fashion refers to its industrial origin.

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His earlier works did often consist of scrap metal, which some critics have seen as a logical consequence of the fact that the artist grew up in Essen where his father worked as an engineer in the steel industry. Also on a more formal level it is easy to find ambivalences and tensions. In a very consequent fashion Meuser succeeds in creating an art impossible of being labelled as sculptures, paintings, or even installations. The sculptural scenario of his works, the pictorial aspects (where the colour used often is an anticorrosive primer highlighting the object character rather than a painterly surface of his works), and the meticulous arrangement of the objects in the exhibition space create a unique aesthetic topology that eludes every generic definition.

His recent works at Galerie Nordenhake represent a slight shift in Meuser's development. A work such as Wenn es am Montag nicht besser ist, rufen Sie nochmal an ('lf you don't feel better on Monday, please call'), 2000, distances itself from the most overt connotations to industrially generated objets trouvées, by being produced directly as an artwork - also the colours used are of a traditional oil, instead of the usual primers. Meuser's focus on material, surface qualities and composition (of the works themselves and as installed in the exhibition space) may lead many viewers to draw parallels between his works and the minimalist movement of the 60s; but as an effective antidote to any such 'purist' interpretation it is important to remember the sensual and deeply personal relation the artist keeps to his works. An example of that phenomenon is his use of titles - humoristic and thought provoking as they often are. The discrepancy between the facticity of the objects and the semantic content of his titles seems so wide that it in itself creates a playful shattering of aesthetic illusion, in a way that reminds us of the romantische Ironie used in literature by authors such as ETA Hoffmann, Tieck, or van Chamisso.

Meuser is born 1947 in Essen. Between 1968 and 1975 he studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf under Joseph Beuys and Erwin Heerich. Since 1992 is he Professor at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildende Künste in Karlsruhe. Meuser has had exhibitions at Galerie Nordenhake in Stockholm in 1990 and 1992.

Kofferträger, 2002, Steel oil, Three parts, 105 x 120 x 110 cm

Da haben Sie zwei Tunnel für dasselbe Geld, 1990, Steel primer, 140 x 270 x 5 cm