His works cling to discursive knowledge, they thrive in the referential without ever being absorbed by it, because the referential already indicates a type of knowledge that always refers to something literal.
H.Draxler: But in what relation to one another do you place research and work, how are references introduced to your work? Do they end up being the main content of the work or do they rather stay in the background, only unfolding through the act of reception?
M.Dreyer: I am thinking of the current exhibition “Anpassungsarbeiten” (adaption works).
I came up with the title because of a fascination with the ambiguity und transition of the term adaption. It seemed to be only a political term once and it only seems to be a therapeutic term now. 60 years ago, the accusation of conformism was used as a knockout argument. Today adaption work (in terms of learning to fit in) is a differentiated practice and, surely, this has to do with the shift from discipline to control. But I take it literally,... Here, I am working with mimicry on the fetish of mimicry. But it is about reversed, reciprocal mimicry, in other words the adaption of the environment to an invading subject. We are experiencing this regularly in politics and the media. One can understand mimicry in an intuitive way, but with the conversion from the already adapted to the still-to-be-customized I made a discovery that I want to express and show to others. Also, I want to stimulate thoughts on thought-provoking impulses via form. This way recipients regain the distance they had to the allegorical before they encountered my artwork. Showing what has become redundant... painting the inside of machines, naming a painting ‚true cobalt‘ and painting a corner black - those are historical forms of humor with an historicity that I am interested in. My clay benches are the benches in the yards of mental asylums, placed there for those that have to work hard to fit in. The village idiot at the fountain may be an ispiration for a Sunday afternoon but also a warning, in reaction to which the community has to adjust their promotion of disabled people. The mimicry in the collages of this exhibition, by being overly literal, is a joke that describes the old-school-rhetoric of Picabia, Pole and others as the lost battle of education to irony. Maybe the exhibition as a whole is a battle painting. I wanted to try to make it pretty evident. **
(translated by Christina Martin)
** Excerpt from the dialogue “Anti-Social Sculpture - Dialectic of Self-Subversion” between Helmut Draxler and Michael Dreyer, in: MICHAEL DREYER - THEORIE UND PLASTIK, published by Helmut Draxler with contributions from Barbara Buchmaier, Kai van Eikels, Felix Ensslin at Verbrecher Verlag Berlin that will be released accompanying the exhibition.