Mark Manders has developed installative sculptural works since the late 1980s that are laid out as fragments of a self-portrait in the form of imaginary rooms. Since participating at the XXIV Biennale in São Paolo (1998), the Venice Biennale (2001), and the Documenta XI (2002), the Dutch artist (born 1968) has emerged as one of the most distinctive and independent positions within the international sculptural practice of the present day.
Starting off from the model-like paradigmatic piece “Self-Portrait as a Building”, which was already made in 1986, his entire oeuvre can be understood as a large-scale attempt to translate his own existence, his own biographical development into wordless, associative memory spaces. Patterning the Ego as architecture, as buildings, leads to an artistic practice that comprehends sculpture as the spatial materialization of abstract and very personal thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Chimneys, brick walls, oversized modeled rats, tables, chairs, newspapers as well as a wide range of small personal objects are grouped together like surreal three-dimensional images to form timeless “still lives with broken moments”. The risks, but also the quality of these works lay in sacrifice of all ties to the grammar of autonomous sculpture from the Modern up to and including Minimalism. Manders' works look for the sculptural point at which the radical personalism of his almost entirely hand-made inventory of things simultaneously come entirely into their own and alternately – as a radical self-portrait – also take on a universal meaning. In these works with their constantly growing numbers of Ego spaces, an encyclopedia of melancholy and – from time to time also frightening – thought and memorial architectures of an Ego are created that is simultaneously present and absent. Presence and disappearance are joined together in thought-spaces full of echoes and reverberations to form a fascinating parcours situated between dream and nightmare through a puzzling and paradoxical world. For his most comprehensive exhibition in Germany to date, Mark Manders has developed a new central site-specific installative placement that – combined with works from 1990 to 2005 – allows a suitable view of the works he has created until now.
After premiering in Hannover, the exhibition will also be shown at the Kunsthalle in Bergen (11.1.–24.2.2008), SMAK in Ghent (Belgium, 12.12.2008–22.2.2009) and the Kunsthaus Zürich (20.3.–14.6.2009).