In her artistic work, Ulrike Müller (born 1971 in Brixlegg, Tirol, lives in New York) explores the relationships between abstraction and bodies and a concept of painting that is not restricted to brush and canvas. The geometrical figures and color surfaces in her compositions are never “purely” abstract. They carry erotic and sexual associations; they tease, touch, and penetrate each other without collapsing into binary logic. Müller uses abstraction as an idiom that can be figuratively appropriated, emotionally charged and politically connoted—depending on the context and the viewer. “My paintings are part of the desire to imagine and to practice alternatives to traditional gender roles and lifestyles,” Müller says.
Müller’s solo exhibition at mumok shows a painterly practice not defined by technique but deliberately seeking out mediums and formats to create connections with other realms of life and of production. Müller uses enamel, for example, which is employed in commercial sign making and in jewelry. She has also translated her designs into textile objects like quilts and rugs. Müller’s painting practice incorporates non-artistic standards and production processes. In her enamel paintings, the artist explores the possibilities offered by an industrially made color palette, while her rugs draw on the traditional skills of weavers from Oaxaca, Mexico, who execute Müller’s designs. Deliberate confrontation with the “Other”—with mediating and regulating bodies—raises the question as to the artist’s “signature” or “hand.” Within this kind of set-up, how can images be “expressive,” and how does subjectivity come into play?
mumok is delighted to present Ulrike Müller’s first solo show in a museum, as well as a collection presentation curated by the artist together with mumok curator Manuela Ammer that stages a dialogue between works of classical modernism and more recent works.
Curated by Manuela Ammer