It is with great pleasure that MLF | MARIE-LAURE FLEISCH announces the joint exhibition Drawing Praxis, which presents the works and interventions by four artists: Nikolaus Gansterer, Katharina Hinsberg, Alain Huck, and Andrea Mastrovito. Rather than a common theme, what unites these artists is drawing – the technique at the core of their research –represented in diverse declinations such as performance, installation, and animation – both classic and digital.
Drawing is not only the oldest technique, but also the most intimate and direct form of artistic expression. From the very origins of our culture, the graphic sign has been the most immediate representation of our thought; it has developed through time, becoming flexible and adaptable by taking advantage of the appearance of new contexts. The fragmentation and the contamination between different genres, characteristic of the present day, has created a fertile terrain for drawing to be transposed from its traditional support and to be expressed fully through more unconventional techniques and mediums.
This exhibition proposes four different approaches which include the lines drawn by Alain Huck, which free themselves from their paper support to invade the surrounding spaces in Katharina Hinsberg's installation; the line is then transformed into action through Nikolaus Gansterer's maps and diagrams, and finally, it becomes alive in the video work of Andrea Mastrovito.
Alain Huck's compositions are presented as large windows opening onto a black and white world; a sterile and desolate land in which a profound state of anguish is reflected. For the exhibition, the artist has created two large format charcoal drawings on paper. With its dense, opaque sootiness, this material is ideal to express the sense of emptiness and uneasiness of the artist’s landscapes, in which plant lifeforms are caught up in impenetrable labyrinths. Gloomy and ashen, his scenes are visions of a world in decomposition, which conserve signs of mankind, whose desire for domination has resulted in ecological disasters, wars and a disfigured panorama. Complex and vulnerable architectural forms, through literary and cinematographic references, pose metaphorical questions about the world that surrounds us.
For Katharina Hinsberg, drawing is a means of conceptual exploration, a systematic reflection on the very act of drawing which is manifested through a diverse creative process. She experiments with the various possibilities of the graphic form, which then acquires physical volume, interacting with the surrounding architecture through a detailed work of incision, punching and scoring. For this exhibition, Katharina has conceived the site-specific installation Perceiden, a sort of wall drawing created by means of a drill. Near the end of summer, the Perseids – a group of shooting stars and part of the Perseus constellation – come into view. Fascinated by the phenomenon of meteoric showers and the legend that stars are born as holes in a membrane that covers the sky, Katharina applies paper stencils to the wall and “transfers” the design by drilling holes. Lines of holes are created, which wind around each other and overlap, creating clusters. The drawing is thus defined by the void created by the interstitial spaces on the surface, between the empty holes. No imagination nor description is needed as the viewer is free to interpret the sequences and intervals between the holes freely, creating mental associations through a series of fleeting forms.
In the work of Nikolaus Gansterer, the processes of thought, action and drawing are indissolubly interconnected and complementary. A flow of consciousness is transformed into gestures, interactions with objects, drawings, and formulae. His works represent a manifestation of syncretism between art and science, culture and nature, which aims to investigate their intrinsic connections by penetrating beyond the imaginary threshold that divides them. For Nikolaus, the gallery space becomes an arena for experimentation, where drawing is the result of a complex thought process that is developed and concretised through a series of performative actions. The aim is to create a conceptual representation of a mental mechanism in constant evolution. Graphs, blackboards, diagrams, maps and systems of signs, which apparently reference scientific theories, all become traces of their very existence, an ephemeral testimony which opens onto a horizon of hypothesis.
Since the very start of his career, Andrea Mastrovito has developed an interdisciplinary and transversal research strategy, reinventing drawing in dialogue with the exhibition space. Using innovative techniques, he was first known for his technique of superimposing cut-out and painted forms on canvas; he then progressed into a more three-dimensional environment, invading space with a proliferation of two dimensional figures. In 2007 he started experimenting with animation, creating the video work Robespierre, which is shown in this exhibition. This work is part of the series Manuale per giovani artisti, 22 self-portraits in which the artist portrays himself as Saint Francis in the act of performing senseless miracles. The work is inspired by the Greek myth Pygmalion and the theory of the philosopher Slavoj Žižek regarding the dynamics of construction – destruction which gives rise to the birth of a society. A pencil appears on the screen and starts to draw; a body takes form and delineates the figure of the artist which, when completed, takes hold of the pastel, breaks it and throws it into a jar. The creature is thus liberated from its creator by abandoning him. In the same way, the French Revolutionists liberated themselves from Robespierre, who was their former leader.
The themes of the shown works are varied, ranging from political-social reflexions and the observation of natural phenomena, to personal experiences with reference to cultural and historical events; they explore the condition of the production of drawing, its temporal aspects and the confines of the very technique.
Nikolaus Gansterer (1974, Klosterneuburg, Austria) lives and works between Vienna and Berlin. He studied Anthropology at the University of Vienna and Transmedia Arts at the University of Applied Arts. His exhibitions include: Antenna Futura – Futurological Exercises for the Unknown, KEX - Kunsthalle Exnergasse Vienna, Vienna, Austria (2016); Marseille Résonance 2016, MuCEM, Marseilles, France (2016); Kristalle im Beton – Die produktive Leichtigkeit, Skulpturenmuseum Marl, Marl, Germany (2016); 34. Österreichischen Grafikwettbewerb, Südtiroler Kulturinstitut, Bolzano, Italy (2016); Het kleine gebaar / The minor gesture / Le moindre geste, MSK - Museum for Fine Arts Ghent, Ghent, Belgium (2015); The Bottom Line, S.M.A.K., Ghent, Belgium (2015); Between the Idea and the Experience, 12th Havana Biennial, La Havana, Cuba (2015); Drawing Now, Albertina Museum, Vienna, Austria (2015); Beyond The Line, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2014); Movement Matters, Kunstverein Goettingen, Germany (2014); The Drawing Room, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria (2014); My Brain is in my Inkstand, Cranbrook Museum, Detroit (MI), USA (2013); 4th Athens Biennale, Athens, Greece (2013); Drafts III, The Drawing Center, New York, USA (2013); Artists in Multifunctions, Gallery Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, India (2013); The Drawing Room, Blickle Foundation, Kraichtal, Germany (2013). ); When Thought becomes Matter, Matter turns into Thought, Kunstraum Niederösterreich, Vienna, Austria (2013).
Katharina Hinsberg (1967, Karlsruhe, Germany) lives and works at the Raketenstation Hombroich in Neuss. She studied Visual Arts in Munich, Dresden and Bordeaux. In 2012, she became Artistic Director of Hombroich Summer Fellows at Insel Hombroich Foundation. Her solo exhibitions include: Feldern (Farben), Kunstmuseum Ravensburg, Germany (2016); Feldern (Farben), Kunstmuseum Baselland, Basel, Switzerland (2015); Itinerar, Museum Pfalzgalerie, Kaiserslautern, Germany (2015); Feldern (Farben), Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf, Germany (2014); Spatien, Museum DKM, Duisburg, Germany (2011); Perceiden, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany (2005); Frieze of Fricatives, The Chinati Foundation, Marfa (TX), USA (2000). Her group shows include: Zeichnungsräume II, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany (2016); Cutting Edge, Drawing Room, Hamburg, Germany (2016); Drawing Rooms, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany (2016); HÄNGUNG #15 über die Linie hinaus, KUNSTWERK Sammlung Alison and Peter W. Klein, Eberdingen-Nussdorf, Germany (2016); Weltreise, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia (2014); Linie, line, linea, Museu de Arte Leopoldo Gotuzzo, Pelotas, Brasil / Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Quito, Ecuador / Museo Nacional de Arte, La Paz, Bolivia / Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotà, Colombia (2011-2014); Rasterfahndung, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany (2012); Die Gegenwart der Linie, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany (2009); Decodierung: Recodierung, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2000). In 2013 she was awarded the Women’s Art Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia and in 2014, the Helmut Kraft Foundation Art Award.
Alain Huck (1957, Vevey, Switzerland) lives and works in Lausanne. Co-founder of M/2 Space, he has participated in the dynamic Swiss art scene since 1987. His personal exhibitions include: Les Salons Noirs - La Symétrie du Saule, Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris, France; Addition de l’Homme aux Bêtes, dAM, Espace de Andrés-Missirlian, Romainmôtier, Switzerland (2014); Tabou, Galleria Marie-Laure Fleisch, Rome, Italy (2013); Totem Twin (A. Huck and C. Burnand), RATS, Centre d’Art Estival, Café des Mouettes, Vevey, Switzerland (2013); Tragedy or Position, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nancy, France (2012-13); Ancholia, Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris, France (2012); L’Espèce de chose mélancolie (La chair nuit), MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland (2009). His group shows include: Langmatt, Licht, Libellen - Impressionismus gestern und heute, Museum Langmatt, Baden, Switzerland (2016); Papiers XL, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2016); Origines et horizon. La Collection d'Art Nestlé, Musée Jenisch Vevey, Switzerland (2016); Collectionneurs, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland (2016); Biens Publics, Musée Rath, Geneva, Switzerland (2015); Autres Accrochages, MAMCO - Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2014); La passion Dürer, Musée Jenisch Vevey, Switzerland (2014); Lemancolia traité artistique du Léman, Musée Jenisch, Vevey, Switzerland (2013); Art contemporain..ou bien?, BCV Art Collection, Fondation de l’Hermitage, Lausanne, Switzerland (2012); Acquisitions récentes d’Antonin Artaud à Tatiana Trouvé, Galerie d’Art Graphique, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2011). In 2013 he was awarded the Grand Prix de l’État de Vaud (Switzerland).
Andrea Mastrovito (1978, Bergamo, Italy) lives and works in New York. His solo exhibitions include: N'importe où hors du monde, Centre pour l'art Contemporain, Montelimar, France (2015); Here the dreamers sleep, Museo Andersen, Rome, Italy (2015); At the end of the line, GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy (2014); Kickstarting #2, Italian Cultural Institute, New York, USA (2014); Le Cinque Giornate, Museo del Novecento, Milan, Italy (2011); Easy Come Easy Go, Casa Testori, Novate Milanese (MI), Italy (2011); Enciclopedia dei fiori da giardino, Assab One – Ex GEA, Milan, Italy (2009). His group shows include: VI Biennale d'Anglet - La Littorale, Anglet, France (2016); Premio Fondazione VAF, MACRO Testaccio, Rome, Italy; Stadtgalerie, Kiel, Germany; Kunstsammlungen, Chemnitz, Germany (2016); Peekskill Project 6, HVCCA, Peekskill, USA (2015); Interact - 11th East Wing Biennial, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK (2014); When is a neighbor a stranger, Laznia Center, Danzica, Poland; La Magnifica Ossessione, MART, Rovereto (TN), Italy (2013); The First Cut, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK (2012); Trait papier - essai sur le dessin contemporain, Musèe des Beaux Arts, Ville de la Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, (2012), Pop-Up, MuDAC, Lausanne, Switzerland (2012); Il Bel Paese dell'Arte. Etiche ed Estetiche della Nazione, GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy (2011); The Sixth Borough, Governors Island, New York, USA, (2010); One shot! Football and contemporary art, B.P.S.22, Charleroi, Belgium (2010); SLASH!/Paper under the knife, Museum of Art and Design, New York, USA (2009); XV Quadriennale di Roma, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy (2008); Apocalittici e Integrati, MAXXI, Rome, Italy (2007); Nessuna Paura, Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (FI), Italy (2007). He was awarded the New York 2007 Prize, the Premio Moroso 2012 and the Premio Ermanno Casoli 2016.