At the beginning of the exhibition season, KUNST MERAN MERANO ARTE unites three solo shows on respective floors of the museum under the title Da lontano era un isola (From afar it was an island). In 1938 the Italian artist and designer Bruno Munari (1907 - 1998 in Milan) visited the futurist ceramicist Tullio Mazzotti in Albissola in Liguria, “in order to relax and make ceramic works.” During this time, Munari collected some stones by the sea that he subsequently studied at home. He published these studies in a book in 1971: page after page Munari uncovers the worlds hidden in the stones: “the stone that seems like an island, without the clouds and without the sea” or the stone that seems like a mountainside: “on one of the paths one sees (when a cloud covers the sun) a group of Swiss tourists, one of whom is barefoot (hard to believe!)”. They are worlds found in the structures of the stones and that can only be discovered by looking closely (and with the necessary imagination).
The exploration of their own work material, to experiment with it and to invite the public to question their own perception again and again, can be seen as common to the three invited artists. Equally, all works result from close dialogue with the exhibition space: they adapt their surroundings or oppose them; existing objects and installations are correspondingly reformulated or can be newly combined.
The visualisation of processes and temporal sequences, to inspire a conscious perception of space, and ruminations about the forces of nature are the fundamental conceptions of the works of the artist Katinka Bock (*1976 in Frankfurt am Main, lives in Paris). In her ceramic and bronze objects she often incorporates characteristic forms and things from the surroundings of the exhibition site: like bits of plants, for example, that she embeds via her very own moulding process into her bronze objects, thus letting nature become a part of her sculptures. Also with her installations in which she often works with precarious materials like (unfired) clay, water, sand or wood, she lets the outside world into the exhibition space.
The sculptures of Giulia Cenci (*1988 Cortona, lives in Amsterdam) often sprawl out in the exhibition space like forgotten landscapes. Forms and structures – from industrial or organic material like cable, plastic, bits of metal, asphalt – group together and lose themselves in space. They trigger multifaceted associations, but do not let themselves be determined by a single definition. Cenci’s works convey the impression of a provisional, floating, forever changing arrangement in which the visitors move, constantly having to adjust and change their approaches. And indeed Giulia Cenci develops and adapts her works anew for each exhibition situation, creating new sequences and narrations between objects and space.
In his works, Philipp Messner (*1975 in Bolzano, lives in Munich) investigates our perception and the relationship between object and viewer. In his action “Clouds” in 2016 he covered the southern lawn of the Alte Pinakothek in Munich with coloured artificial snow. Thus he cleverly addresses not only our expectations of nature and the artificial, but simultaneously creates a walkable painterly field. Philipp Messner challenges our viewing habits also in his latest works; in working on fragments of marble with pigments he creates bewildering-fascinating compositions that could be defined as somewhere between painting and sculpture and which give rise to reflections on materiality. Munari describes his stone: “From afar it was an island with buildings, terraces, planes with different inclines. One sees neither person or animal, and even the seagulls stay away. Going to the backside of the island, one lays eyes on the wildest part, uninhabitable, after all, because this island is a rock, six by fourteen centimetres, smaller than a baby seagull.”
In their differing approaches to the particularities of their materials and the structures of the exhibition spaces Katinka Bock, Giulia Cenci und Philipp Messner allow the discovery of a new island on each floor.