Patrick Heide Contemporary Art is pleased to present allele, Thomas Müller’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. In allele, the German artist surprises with a set of new paradigms and approaches which mark the dawn of a new formal endeavour. Long-term enthusiasts of his finely-drawn, delicate compositions will be just as satisfied as those who are searching for adventure, complexity and diversity in Müller’s oeuvre.
The works presented in allele are compact and dramatic with the sense of a deeper linking structure; the image surface is charged, although the empty space, so important for the emergence of Müller’s distinctive organic characters, is still preeminent. The formal idiom of these new drawings is clearer, the shapes more defined and integrated into an art historical repertoire. Many drawings are retouched or even reworked, often with a network of bold forms in ink that at times culminate in Tetris or cross-like shapes. Several of the large size drawings on display, executed in silver coloured pencil, are literally superimposed with these structures. Another large-scale work combines pencil, chalk, oil stick and Indian ink in a composition nourished with Müller’s typical elements. The fine lines of purple oil stick sweep across the image surface in meandering, wave like movements, overlaid with the described ink elements, which surprise and disrupt with their clearly defined borders and pentagonal shapes.
The exhibition’s title allele picks up on the pool of resources, forms and materials that Müller selects from; variations of combinations, which are reused and modified over and over again, generating an endless abundance of motifs that are linked in some way. The term derives from the Greek prefix ἀλληλο-, allelo-, meaning "mutual", "reciprocal", or “each other”, a notion most important in the communication within and between Müller’s drawings. Despite their different compositions and materials, the small drawings, in particular, invariably draw from the same vocabulary. There is a strong connection through media; in recent drawings the silver coloured pencil is a recurring element, as are the ink blots and the use of collage and overlaid layers and forms.
The A4 drawings unfold best when presented in conversation and exchange with one another to stimulate the connections and to conclude and counterbalance a drawing process that the artist has started elsewhere.
In the past, the small drawings were hung in sometimes expansive open grid formations. In this exhibition, concentrated groupings of complimentary works also seek to underline the strength of singular drawings in Müller’s new series.
Thomas Müller (born 1959, Germany) is part of private collections world-wide and is represented in important German and French museum collections, including amongst others the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung Munich and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart.