In the 1960s, artists such as Joseph Beuys and the representatives of Arte Povera attempted to expand the image-based Western concept of art. It is thanks to their use of materials previously considered 'unworthy of art' that the use of materials from a purely technical, physical or historically based point of view was overcome and a new aesthetic category established. By charging the material's intrinsic properties with symbolism, material became an autonomous carrier of meaning. At the same time, they opened up the possibility for art to include all natural and industrial products in the material canon of artistic creation.
Following this tradition, the exhibition MONOMATERIAL emphasizes different forms of the relationship between object and materiality within contemporary artistic practice and shows how centrally the choice of material can influence the respective work's meaning.
Although all the exhibited works are determined by only one main material, clear differences in the production processes and readings can be identified. While some artists make use of Duchamp's readymade approach, others use material translations as an artistic means. Still others choose to play with material properties or invoke the memory capacity of matter. The conscious inclusion of the immaterial also finds its echo in the exhibition.
MONOMATERIAL examines how the de- and recontextualisation of materials is used for artistic media reflection, how political, social or philosophical questions can be raised and what new perspective on reality is made possible.
Text: Philipp Bollmann