Galerie Nathalie Obadia is very happy to present Trocken Lassen (Let dry), Meuser’s third exhibition after Tout va bien Alles in Butter in 2007 and Strubbel die Katz in 2015.
Born in 1947, in Essen, in the Ruhr region, Meuser is one of the most emblematic minimalist German painters. A former student of Joseph Beuys and Erwin Heerich (along with the likes of Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, and Günther Förg), at the prestigious Düsseldorf Academy of Art, he has been a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Karlsruhe, since 1992. That same year, he was invited by Jan Hoet to participate in documenta IX, in Kassel.
As a young man, Meuser, son of an engineer at a factory in Essen, began his art education under the influence of Russian constructivism (from Malevitch to Mondrian) but also that of American minimalism (from Ellsworth Kelly to Donald Judd). The artist’s questioning of these movements is incarnated in the rigorousness of his work and constantly guides his reflections.
In his work, Meuser has developed a process of collecting metallic objects, which he finds at landfills, especially those of his native Essen or of Karlsruhe. He then transforms these objects by distorting them in places, painting them—here, in oil—and sometimes toying with the effect of trompe-l’oeil. In fact, his brand-new steel works, on show at the gallery, one painted a brilliant yellow, another a faded purple, some rust-colored, others gray, confuse our perception of the materials’ original state. These heavy sculptures, placed on the ground or hung on white walls, create one large composition that appears to be in motion. Characterized by ambivalence and tension, they seem at once to be anchored in the space’s very architecture and to float around us.
The multitude of nuances, the play on shadow and light, the transparencies and the variety of textures animate these sculptures by enhancing their plasticity. The artist offers us dynamic and vivid shapes, via simple gestures and disconcerting sincerity. All of a sudden, his work appears to transcend minimal art.
Meuser annihilates time, while simultaneously highlighting the Past. His work is an echo to Essen, his birthplace and the symbolic center of Western Germany’s steel sector, also immortalized in the photographs of Bernd and Hilla Becher. These fragments—fossils charged with personal and collective History—paint the social portrait of the post-war German population. The objects, whose original functions are sometimes impossible to guess, also evoke the excessively consumeristic society and the process of mechanization.
Meuser was born in 1947, in Essen (Germany). He lives and works in Karlsruhe (Germany).
A former student of Joseph Beuys and Erwin Heerich, at the Academy of Fine Art and Philosophy, in Düsseldorf, between 1968 and 1976, he is presently a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe.
An exhibition of his work will open on September 15, 2018, at the Kunstraum Grässlin St. Georgen (Germany).
Meuser’s work has been the subject of monographic exhibitions, such as Nachspülen at Meyer Riegger Gallery in Karlsruhe (Germany, 2018); Abwasser at Galerie Bärbel Grässlin in Frankfurt (Germany, 2018); Herr Ober, zwei Doppelte at Meyer Riegger Gallery in Berlin (Germany, 2014); Knautsch at Städtische Galerie in Karlsruhe (Germany, 2011); Wo ist oben? at Gallery Gisela Capitain in Cologne (Germany, 2009); Die Frau reitet und das Pferd geht zu Fuß at the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf (Germany, 2008); Meuser mit Pinsel ohne Farbe at Meyer Riegger Gallery in Karlsruhe (Germany, 2007); Metrostation Oberkampf at Lichthof der Staatl, at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe (Germany, 1996); at the Kunsthalle in Zürich (Switzerland, 1991); at Villa Arson in Nice (France, 1991); Die Dunkelheit, Klarheit, Deutlichkeit, Angemessenheit und die volle Zusammenschau (Intuition), Kabinett für aktuelle Kunst at Bremerhaven and Galerie Bärbel Grässlin in Frankfurt (Germany, 1984).
He also participated in numerous, important group exhibitions, including 50 Jahre Avantgarde. Das Kabinett für aktuelle at the Kunst Bremerhaven in Bremen (Germany, 2018); Ausbruch aus der Fläche - Das Origami Prinzip in der Kunst at Marta Herford in Herford (Germany, 2018); Skulpturen aus der Sammlung at Städtische Galerie in Karlsruhe (Germany, 2017); Narrativas monumentales. Figuras, paisajes y rituales at the Museo de Arte Contemporanéo Gas Natural Fenosa in Corunna (Spain, 2015); Ausstellung der Professorinnen und Professoren zum 300. Stadtgeburtstag at Städtische Galerie in Karlsruhe (Germany, 2015); Ruhe vor dem Sturm. Postminimalistische Kunst aus dem Rheinland at the Museum Morsbroich in Leverkusen (Germany, 2015); PRÄSENTation. Geschenke für die Sammlung des Zentrums für Kunst - und Medientechnologie at the Museum für Neue Kunst in Karlsruhe (Germany, 2012); Art Foundation Mallorca Collection, Special Edition at CCA Andratx (Spain, 2012); Schlachtpunk. Painting in the Eighties at the Darmstadt Kunsthalle, Darmstadt (Germany, 2012); FischGrätenMelkStand at Temporäre Kunsthalle in Berlin (Germany, 2010); Abstraktes Material at the Kunsthaus in Graz (Austria, 2005); Superman in Bed. Sammlung Schürmann at Museum am Ostwall in Dortmund (Germany, 2004); at documenta IX, Kassel (Germany, 1992); Room Enough, Sammlung Schürmann at Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum in Aachen (Germany, 1987); Tableaux Abstraits at Villa Arson in Nice (France, 1986).
Meuser was the recipient of the Bremen Kunstpreis der Böttcherstraße (Germany), in 1985, and of the ars viva “gestaltete Räume” in Berlin (Germany), in 1991-1992.
His works are included in important public and private collections, including the Städtisches Museum Abteiber (Germany), Städtishe Galerie Karlsruhe (Germany), Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Germany), Neue Galerie Graz (Austria), Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (Germany), Museum Ludwig (Germany), Centro Cultural Adratx (Spain), The Martin Margulies Collection (USA), Maxine & Stuart Frankel Foundation for the Arts (USA).