Martin Städeli: Can The Snail Fly?

16 Feb 2019 – 23 Mar 2019

Laura Mars Gallery

Berlin, Germany


Travel Information

  • U7 S+U Yorckstraße / U2 Bülowstraße / Bus M19 Mansteinstraße

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Even with the title of his exhibition Martin Städeli opens up a tension-filled semantic field. The answer seems clear at first: of course, earth-bound, arduously crawling creatures — that moreover carry the burden of their dwelling along at all times — cannot fly. Nonetheless, or in spite of this, the absurd question is accompanied by a utopian shadow of sorts. Well, why not, after all — one might think. What would happen, if? The negation opens up into a sphere of possibilities.

Just as obvious-cryptic as the title is the line drawing on the invitation: sticking on the clearly de-fined stereometry is the soft and curvaceous. The constructed conditions obviously surrounding us meet a curled-up, encapsulated interior world. Simultaneously, a critical point is being indicated: the jeopardization that may result from the confrontation with the vertices and terminal points of a construct-ed world. Or is it all merely about self-assurance, a curious measurement of the coordinates one inserts, and must insert, oneself into?

Ambiguity in the form of specific stress ratios fundamentally determines Martin Städeli’s artistic work. His characteristic formulations made from papier mâché the artist devised from 1994 on as deliberate opposites to abstract painting cultivated by him as well back then. The immaterial, two-dimensional form of existence was being contrasted by an organic-physical-appearing “naturalism.”

Thesis and antithesis likewise characterize the precarious, broken-down figurations themselves; they are shaped from the liquid, and solidified, yet seem feeble enough to make one fear for their continued existence. In this context, Städeli operates with the coinage “compostition.” As a design material, bronze would be entirely ab-surd, as would a painterly whitewashing, i.e., transformation of the sculptural material. Color sneaks in-to Städeli’s works in a cautious manner; thus, the support material remains tangible to such a degree that text passages taken from newspapers may be studied.

The material language’s ephemeral character is matched motif-wise by the airy creatures having “alighted” in the exhibition space only to seemingly fly away the next moment. Yet things physical, organic, and anthropo-morphic may as well stand on the floor, by themselves, or be inserted group-like into constructs and makeshift presentation contraptions. Thus, the singular form as it moves between substrate and fragment, attains a de-gree of attachment and integration. What is moreover relevant: always the simplest and obvious serves Städeli just right to invoke the complexity and magic of the animate-inanimate world.

Text: Thomas Groetz / Translation: Johannes Sabinski

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Exhibiting artists

Martin Städeli


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