Reinhard Mucha is a central figure in the cohort of artists known as the 'model makers' on account of their theatrically staged, maquette- or prop-like compositions. In his formative years as a student of Klaus Rinke at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the 1970s and early 1980s, Mucha developed the makings of what would later become a singular, mature style of pristine and dense autobiographical assemblages made of repurposed industrial materials such as linoleum, wood flooring, aluminium panels, and glass.Read More
From as early as the late 1970s, Mucha had assumed the role of a shrewd bricoleur, synthesising found objects with materials redolent of industrial and, at times, domestic histories. His early installations exude an air of dereliction and dysfunction yet they appear somehow ordered by some idiosyncratic logic. Many were inspired by the West Germany of his youth and the industrial activity associated with Düsseldorf—a former centre of manufacturing in the Rhineland until the mid-20th century.
Mucha has often enlisted functional objects—sleds, blankets, suitcases, their age made apparent by traces of repeated use—and combined them with Minimalism's formal programme of nondescript, anonymous materials. Constructivism and conceptualism also have exerted a salient influence on his work, as have design and architecture. However, his most enduring interest has been the modes of exhibition display in galleries and museums—the wall cases, vitrines, armatures, and support structures (such as girders) that have, over time, been made to form an aesthetic language of their own.
At the 44th Venice biennale in 1990, as one of Germany's representatives Mucha exhibited Das Deutschlandgerät (The Germany Device)—named for a hydraulic mechanism used to re-rail derailed trains and interpreted as a reference to the fractured German state. In the Nazi-era pavilion, he erected a marble-covered chamber that matched the existing neoclassical architecture. Inside (its dimensions replicating his studio in Düsseldorf), he lined the pavilion's surfaces with grey felt in a nod to Joseph Beuys, who taught at his alma mater from 1961 to 1972. On the walls, the artist placed 27 glass vitrines containing fragments of his studio floorboards—their wooden surfaces exposing traces of the artist's manual labour and that of the previous tenants. In an adjacent space he presented 38 columnar display cases and a table holding a single horizontal vitrine.
Mucha's interest in industrial materials has been closely matched by his propensity for reconfiguring earlier artwork. Locked in a cycle of making, unmaking and remaking, he often adapts the work from venue to venue, as he did with his Venice Biennale installation, re-presented in 2002 at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen's K21 in Düsseldorf. (The titles of his reconfigurations include the dates of their previous iterations.) In a later version of Das Deutschlandgerät, 13 monitors were added showing animations of the original Venice installation alongside photographs of common items amongst other scenes. That he would go on to incorporate network references to online culture indicates his ongoing desire to collapse the boundaries of history. In their respective eras, the internet and the modern rail system—another recurring interest—have dramatically reoriented human relationships to space and time.
Mucha has gained a reputation for working at a restrained, measured pace, unlike the break-neck speed of most of the contemporary art world. However, from 1998 to 2009, he stopped holding solo exhibitions but continued to create (and re-create) what he calls his 'workpieces': sub-elements to his full-scale installations. In 2016, Kunstmuseum Basel held a survey exhibition of his artworks, presenting meta-displays created between 1981 and 2014. Their constituent parts were displaced from their original settings to become suspended, to use the artist's words, 'in the gap where art ends and daily life begins'.
Mucha's works are included in the permanent collections of numerous international public institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent. He still lives and works in Düsseldorf.
Biography by Ocula | 2019
LONDON — Reinhard Mucha's work is unsettling. His clinical, precise sculptures are often disrupted by found objects or makeshift elements, such as packing tape, bubble wrap, and electrical cabling. Their complex titles contain multiple dates: no brackets around the numbers indicate when a piece was first made; square brackets indicate a...
Since the 1980s, numerous widely acclaimed exhibitions have introduced international audiences to the work of the Düsseldorf-born artist Reinhard Mucha. In 1990, Mucha (in collaboration with Bernd and Hilla Becher) designed the German pavilion at the 44th Venice Biennale; ...
The Taipei Fine Arts Museum has announced the artists tapped for their 2016 Taipei Biennial, which takes place from September 10 this year through February 5 of 2017. Now in its tenth edition, the biennial this year takes on themes related to artistic and curatorial practices, and as per press release, 'embraces the catalytic role of museums in...
Reinhard Mucha's exhibition at Sprüth Magers – his first with the gallery, and his first solo show in Berlin since 1996 – was a time capsule of its own making. Neither time nor exhibition making are simply linear affairs in Mucha's work.
Reinhard Mucha: Showing the show As a young artist in the 1970s, German sculptor Reinhard Mucha was skeptical of showing his work in museums. Since then, many of his large installations have directly addressed the simple idea of being in a museum, encouraging visitors to be aware of the gallery itself as a way to look more closely at the art.