How Things Are Done (1) – adhesive tape and foil on plexiglass, backlit by two fluorescent lamps , 70 × 51,,5 × 0,5 cm


How Things Are Done (1) – adhesive tape and foil on plexiglass, backlit by two fluorescent lamps , 70 × 51,,5 × 0,5 cm


How Things Are Done (1) – adhesive tape and foil on plexiglass, backlit by two fluorescent lamps , 70 × 51,,5 × 0,5 cm


Detail from: How Things Are Done (2)


Detail from: How Things Are Done (3)



HOW THINGS ARE DONE

When looking at contemporary theory and culture it is impossible to overlook a current desire for deceleration, a longing for ‘change from change’ as Boris Groys puts it. While Boris Groys identifies change itself to be our contemporary status quo and permanent change our reality, critical thinkers seem to rediscover Walter Benjamin’s suggestion that a revolution might in fact be the human race activating the ‘emergency brake’. In times when crisis seems to be the only stability in an almost world-wide capitalist system, Paul Virílio’s analysis of the ‘rushing stand still’ doesn’t come in less handy to some than his apocalyptic prophecies of the ‘last journey’ to inevitably lead to the ‘integral accident’.

But what exactly does this permanent change so frenetically talked about stand for? It seems necessary to stress the fact that these changes take place predominantly in the realm of technology, media, economy or military. These changes strongly shape the structuring and conditions of human existence but should not be mistaken for social or human change itself: despite them being mutually influential and connected entities it is adequate not to address them with one generalising term. There are countless examples of rapid changes within the technological, economical or even political circumstances of life, which did not at all coincide with effects of similar speed on a societal and interhuman level.

The idea, therefore, more convincingly stands that mobility never comes without immobility and more importantly, that one’s mobility might only be possible through another’s immobility. Following this line of thought, the immobile can be regarded as something that contributes to the stabilisation of the mobile.

This coexistence and interwovenness of change and standstill are central aspects in Martin Müller’s new series of work entitled HOW THINGS ARE DONE. Through a fragile technique of placing transparent and translucent adhesive tapes on foils that are attached to acrylic glass and lit from behind, he depicts moments of odd yet symptomatic human interaction.

Unlike in most figurative painting, Müller does not discuss the present moment as a loophole between past and future. His situations do not evoke a before and after, furthermore they reject any placement in time and space. Even if there are indicators of a temporal context depicted (fashion, products, technology, etc.), there is a strong timeless, almost transhistorical nature underlying his work. Ultimately we find history and humanity discussed as a nightmarish echo of ‘constant present’, or ‘inescapable present’.

Being neither in motion nor at rest, Müller’s paintings occupy an atemporal twilight zone where observations of human and social continuities clash with their ever-transforming circumstances. ‘Significant change’ in these paintings seems merely tangible in the subtleties and variations of eternal sameness.

Author: Vika Kirchenbauer



Exhibition view. Find more information on the exhibtion here.


Exhibition view. Find more information on the exhibtion here.



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