Ulrike Müller
And Then Some
Exhibition dates: September 15 - October 30, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday, September 15th, 6 - 8pm

Press Release

Callicoon Fine Arts is pleased to present the gallery’s second exhibition of works by Ulrike Müller from September 15 to October 30, 2016. Within an altered gallery architecture, the artist presents new works on paper and oil paintings together with the rugs and vitreous enamel works for which she has become known. 

Müller’s architectural intervention includes a wall painting in which the grey color of the floor extends beyond its usual horizontal plane and encroaches upon the white walls. A strong diagonal makes the gallery feel like a vessel about to capsize, tilting the space to the left. Figure and ground, now including the very ground we stand on, is not something that we should assume as given or stable. By covering only the frontally facing walls and through the play of the diagonal in relation to the viewer’s position, the wall painting mobilizes flatness and perspectival illusion, creating a framework that embodies the dynamics of form at play in the works themselves.

In this architectural setting, the artist offers her works to examination and sets in motion a play of signification and experience that crosses between mediums and materials. No matter whether it is image, material or form through which one enters the installation, movement and relationality are crucial for the exploration of Müller’s geometric shapes and mediated marks. 

A central concern is the way bodies might be configured, connoted and suggested without being fully identifiable. Gender becomes another axis around which the artworks tilt. The interplay of forms, colors and planes lay a compositional ground over which to imagine potentials for the representation of other forms of subjectivity. The glassy surface of enamel, a medium most often associated with industrial signage and jewelry, facilitates this imagining as it reflects the viewer back at them. 

A motif that recurs in this new body of works on paper, and in an oil on canvas, is the vase, sometimes appearing to be filled with spare change, at other times holding a spray of foliage. The vases and foliage nod to the “minor genre” of the flower still life in painting – historically an avenue open to women even as they were excluded from the academy, and, in our day, a hobby painter’s favorite.

One drawing is titled Grüngeflammt after a longstanding make of Austrian utilitarian ceramics hand painted with green stripes and simplified leaves. In another, titled Bouquet des Fleurs, leaves emerge from a vase whose form is implied by a face though the vessel’s outlines are missing. The face, a locus of recognition and identification, registers a crooked gaze, a looking askance – a reminder of the misrecognition, projection, and construction at work in social interactions. 

With And Then Some, Müller mobilizes near-familiar imagery, a seemingly exhausted genre, and rigorous form to further expand her vocabulary. 

Ulrike Müller (born 1971 in Austria, lives in New York) studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria, and participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Ulrike Müller: The old expressions are with us always and there are always other at Mumok (Museum of Moderner Kunst), Vienna (2015-2016), for which a catalog is forthcoming from Dancing Foxes Press. Her work was included in Invisible Adversaries at the Hessel Museum of Art and Blackness in Abstraction at Pace Gallery, New York, both 2016. Recent group exhibition also include Painting 2.0. Expression in the Information Age at the Museum Brandhorst in Munich (2015) and Mumok, Vienna (2016), and in The Little Things Could Be Dearer at MoMA PS1 in New York (2013). In 2010, Müller represented Austria in the Cairo Biennial. Müller has been a co-editor of the queer feminist journal LTTR and organized Herstory Inventory. 100 Feminist Drawings by 100 Artists, a collaborative drawing project that was exhibited together with objects from the respective collections at the Brooklyn Museum and at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in 2012.

For additional information contact Photi Giovanis at info@callicoonfinearts.com, or call 212-219-0326.

Callicoon Fine Arts is located at 49 Delancey Street between Forsyth and Eldridge Streets. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm. The nearest subway stops are the B and D trains at Grand Street and the F, J, M and Z trains at Delancey-Essex Street.