Reinhard Mucha, ‘Werden, 2016’, 2016, Sprüth Magers

Werden is a district of Essen.
The title Werden goes back to Mucha's archive of titles from his work Wartesaal [1997],1979-1982, a work included in Catherine David's documenta 10 in 1997, which can be seen as a kind of meta-work: the names of 242 railway stations, each with six letters, copied by Mucha from an updated 1948 version of a train fare directory issued by German Reich Railway (Reichsbahn) in 1943, in the typography of the postwar German Federal Railways (Bundesbahn, onto pull-out boards stored in 12 wheel-fitted racks. Although originally produced during World War II (quoted here in a version from the postwar period), the directory refers to a pre-war topography, an unstable and stratified historical base to which Mucha criptically refers, as well as the fatal role of railways in Nazi Germany. In addition to this critique, Wartesaal also acts as a semiotic reservoir for most of Mucha's wall-mounted works bearing the names of cities.

Image rights: © Mucha / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

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