Drawing from the everyday, German sculptor Inge Mahn (b. 1943) consciously alienates the commonplace, sensibly manipulating motifs to unlock a range of incongruous possibilities. Working predominantly with white plaster, the artist estranges objects through raw modelling, re-contextualisation, subtle subtractions and additions.
In the artist’s practice, discrete sculptural elements and installations are meant to be activated by independent structures. Purposely ignoring the notion of the self-standing work of art, Mahn creates works that interact with broader architectural, historical and socio-political contexts, often formulating responses to specific environments. Foregoing the ready-made principle and the traditional concept of architectural and monumental sculpture, the works testify to the artist’s democratic intentions - often time-based or kinetic, they trigger one’s memories to comment on a range of issues such as authority, power and individuality.
"Inge Mahn’s sculptures are not created in isolation, but evolve within their specific spatial and situational contexts. They are autonomous only in part, since they react to preexisting architectonic and social structures, assume a stance that corresponds to them, advance objections, stir up our ideas about objects, spaces and rules. This body of work is an ongoing violation of the rules, it provides the impetus for a process of rethinking, reinterpretation, rebuilding. Outwardly this is manifested in the constant white of the works: here everything is being continually reshaped, remodeled, transformed."
Stephan von Wiese, Construction Sites. On the sculptural œuvre of Inge Mahn, in Inge Mahn. Baustellen/Construction Sites, Wienand Verlag, 2011
Image: Schulklasse, 1970, plaster over wood construction, 230 x 600 x 120 cm.; 90 1/2 x 236 1/4 x 47 1/4 in.
A SHOW RELATED TO AN ERA - THE EIGHTIES: PART I
Herbert Brandl, Günther Förg, Robert Gober, Cristina Iglesias, Mike Kelley, Liz Larner, Zoe Leonard, Inge Mahn, Meuser, Markus Oehlen, Wilhelm Schürmann, Mariella Simoni, Franz West
Galerie Max Hetzler @ Kurfürstendamm 213, Berlin
14 September – 27 October 2018
True Stories. A Show Related to an Era – The Eighties
Galerie Max Hetzler Berlin | Paris | London / Holzwarth Publications, Berlin 2019
With texts by Peter Pakesch, Lutz Eitel and Wilhelm Schürmann and a conversation between Peter Pakesch, Max Hetzler and Hans Werner Holzwarth