Born in 1934 in Frankfurt on Main, Germany, Bauermeister burst onto the artistic scene in the beginning of the 1960s with a series of shows in Europe and in the United States.
Her studio, Atelier Mary Bauermeister on Lintgasse 28 in Cologne, hosted numerous presentations, happenings, lectures and experimental music concerts. It was the meeting point for prominent artists, musicians, writers and poets, including Nam June Paik, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Otto Piene and Ben Patterson.
In 1962 the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam showcased the first major solo exhibition of the artist.
In the same year, inspired by the works of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, Bauermeister decided to move to New York with Karlheinz Stockhausen, whom she married in 1967. Recognition and success were soon to follow - some of the most prominent museums, such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Solomon. R. Guggenheim, The Brooklyn Museum, The Whitney Museum of New York and The Hirshorn Museum of Washington decided to include her works into their permanent collections.
During the New York years Mary Bauermeister created most of her signature lens boxes (some of them are on display in this exhibition), which are distinctive of her oeuvre. Acting as vessels for ideas, quotations, drawings, objects, transfigured by the optical lenses, the lens boxes open doors to an imaginary, but not less tangible dimension.
Bauermeister interprets life, circumscribbing it in the multi-dimensional box, which, in turn, becomes a thinking-case, containing traces of artist's written and drawn thoughts, veiled and altered by the layers of glass.
In the early 1970s Mary returned to Köln and took up primary residence in Europe.
The work of Mary Bauermeister incorporates themes, related to nature, music and cosmos - the continuous opposition of elements, such as male and female, inside and outside, left and right, introverted and extroverted, artificial and natural. Particularly, she emphasizes the encounter between reality and illusion, conventionally perceived as antipodes, which aim to activate a joyful mental process in the spectator, therefore making the latter fall into horizons of infinite solutions, where even 1 + 1 can equal 3.