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Lutz-Rainer Müller

drumkit 1, 2011
steel, rubber
dimensions variable
rocking chair (Amsterdam), 2008

bikes fished out of Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam
93 × 73 × 171 cm
hat (le retour à la raison)
, 2008

copper, balloons, helium, fishing line
13 × 37 × 29 cm
Installation view
Lutz-Rainer Müller treats showrooms as empty scenes where sculptures and interventions work as markers for absent actors, or as scenographic elements for these. Müller finds fragments of narratives and opportunities for interventions, which he again mixes with references from different histories of culture. A common feature of his work is a reflection of absence, uncertainty and various attempts of escape or disappearance.

The exhibition "Maximal speed is a state of rest" at Pierogi Galerie in Leipzig in 2008, is in many ways characteristic of Müller's way of working. It operates the exhibition space as a stage where several acts unfold overlapping eachother, reflecting a keen interest in the surplus the irrational or the Dadaist. They are all about showing traces of something that does not exist or is hidden, whether real or metaphorical, and they are all based on different historical and literary figures.

The first act deals with disappearance. Müller attempts to reverse Bas Jan Ader’s act of riding his bike into a canal in Amsterdam (FALL II /1970) by fishing as many bikes as he could from the same spot. Hoping to find what Ader left behind the search becomes a hopeless act of archeology. For Müller these bikes are possible traces of art history's perhaps greatest vanishing act referring to Ader’s disappearance in the atlantic ocean in 1975. In Müller’s exhibtion the bikes are used as material for further processing.

The second act is Murphy, based on Samuel Beckett's novel from 1938 of the same name. The main character Murphy finds an elevated condition as he gets tied up, naked, in his rocking chair and so pacified. The protagonist is a lonely figure who opposes the existence of a world outside of his own. Müller connects the literary figure with the disappearance of Bas Jan Ader by making a rocking chair of the bikes from the canal in Amsterdam. The two physikal movements of falling and of rocking back and forth become metaphores for mental states of being indirectly referring to the title of the exhibition.

The third act is the invisible visitor's attention. In Hans Richter Dadaist film Vormittagsspuk (noon ghost) from 1928, four flying hats play the leading role. Divorced from their suit-clad owners they act as markers for people who are not present. Müller took this inspiration to make an oversized copper hat hovering around the room using balloons filled with gas. The sculpture lives its own life and could potentially land and belong to whom ever or whatever. Ruled by the movement of air that various visitors add the copper hat describes invisible or absent visitor's movements.

Müller has his degree from the Art Academy in Kiel, Bergen and Oslo, and since graduating in 2006 made a number of exhibitions including Norway, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, UK and USA. Beyond his own artistic career, he has also done work in collaboration with both Stian Ådlandsvik and Jan Freuchen. Müller's work can be found in the collections of the Bergen Art Museum and the Kunsthalle der Sparkasse Leipzig, as well as in numerous private collections.