Introducing text – Ramona Wegenast (Translation)

Salon exhibition: Müller & Sohn – “Ways-Part 1” Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Mr. Jahnke, dear Andreas Hykade and above all, dear Irene and dear Diethard, I am very pleased to be here tonight to say some explanatory words about the works of the Artist duos Mueller & Sohn to say. The short film trailer at the beginning has already given us a first glimpse into the exhibition, which is located in the drawing room in the basement. The exhibition “Ways-Part 1,” which you can see here at the Kunstverein Ludwigsburg from today, shows the results of the first, before approx. A joint artistic project launched by Irene Müller and Diethard Sohn. Irene Müller studied painting and visual communication in Augsburg and Stuttgart. Diethard’s son free art in Stuttgart. The origin of their collaboration was a joint walk through the Tannheim Valley in Austria. Red benches line the paths there and invite you to rest and feel out. These red elements, flanking the path and thereby decadent the landscape, also guide through the exhibition. Like the famous “Red Thread,” the color red is signpost, shaping element and border marker. She was installatively embedded in the exhibition, but she is also found in the paintings. All the pictures you can see at the bottom of the salon are the result of the two painters ‘ artistic engagement with their experiments, which they conducted in Austria and which you saw in short excerpts in the video. These are paintings created after the joint performances, individually processed by each of the two in their own way and translated into painting. The method chosen by Müller & Sohn is reminiscent of a nature-scientific approach – artistic research in nature – conducting experiments, trying and testing momentarily the circumstances changing the circumstances. When you enter the exhibition space, you will see both this experimental research and the final results in the form of the paintings. There are three films in the entrance area (we have already seen them in the short trailer). Arranged like a triptych, three monitors framed in wooden frames are installed in the wall niches. They show the different interactions that have taken place at different times of the year in the Tannheim Valley. As in her art, these also form a kind of starting point in the exhibition. Oriented by the red of the benches, the two artists have gone to the mountains with red cloths tailored into strips and placed or hanged them in different formations and in different places in the landscape. In doing so, they have changed the space and shown new ways, modified found paths. What happens through such interventions? How does space change? How does perception change? How do passers-by but also the wildlife react – above all the numerous cows – whose usual terrain has been deliberately changed by Müller & Sohn? There are limits where previously none were – on hiking trails, on huts or benches. As a result, – the viewer – but also the passers-by, the interventions that man makes into nature – are very clearly kept in mind. These are not even so much the artistic interventions, which were only temporary, but rather the interventions in general, which change nature and for which the red benches are only symbolic. If one goes further into the large exhibition space, two senses are claimed. Seeing and hearing – we see the different images. Landscapes created by Irene Müller and portraits of cows painted by Diethard’s son. In between and over the red wipes that show and irritate our gaze. We see little stone bags that have acted as weights to be able to throw the big wipes over houses and benches and we hear the nature: The wind, the birds, the bells of the cows. The sound confuses the viewer the most. Immediately one begins to look around, one suspects cows behind a corner, wonders where exactly the ringing comes from. And so the images are arranged. In corners you will find “cow pictures” painted in such detail that you have the feeling that a “real” animal is looking at you. Strange, somewhat frightening and at the same time gorgeous in its quirk. The exhibition concludes and at the same time focuses on the triptych on the front wall of the room. A collaborative effort by Irene Müller and Diethard Sohn. It shows a cow in a wooded landscape walking along a path laid out with red wipes. The two artists have taken on this work very humorously. She shows the cow in all its precision-it stretches close to its posterior. The Christian attributes – the red cloth, sometimes hanging from the ceiling, sometimes lying on the ground – it reminds us, for example, of the processions to Corpus Christi. The three-part triptych can be found both in the jointly painted work and in the construction of the film trailers. And Mueller’s landscape images are also arranged in groups of three. Whether consciously or unconsciously thus comes to the two aspects of the artistic and the scientific experimental of the sublime, the divine. However, it is not something sacred divine that preoccupies the two. Rather, it is this supernatural what Müller & Sohn have discovered in nature and whose “interruption” – namely the interventions of man – which they try to transfer into their work and to question and explore with means of art. The final results of this research are the paintings that can be seen in the landscape painting typical of Müller as well as in the portraits customary for his son. Anyone who knows the works of Diethard’s son knows about his paintings, elaborated in craftsmanship perfection. He is best known for his paintings painted in the photorealistic ductus, of which his powerful portraits convince above all. In the works here at the Kunstverein, he has, without any qualitative loss, shed this perfectionist way of working, at least in approaches. The works show “blanks,” unfinished passages that represent the process of painting and thus also contradict what is known from scientific work. Processes, developments, unfinished end results. Especially good to see this is at work, which they find when you come down right right after the front door. The cow logs out from behind the bench, sketchy around the edges – as if it were in the wrong place. In particular, the eyes, the glances of the counterpart in the picture, are striking in their expressiveness. Do you look threatening or peaceful? In any case, she has us in view! She doesn’t trust us – she watches – as we watch her. It’s a bit like it is in nature in the exhibition. We walk through the exhibition space and feel watched by the looks of the cows. The sound installation, which echoes the sounds of the landscape in the Tannheim Valley, really makes us feel like the middle of nature. We hear the ringing of the bells long before we can see the cows for ourselves. We feel watched by the animals – as if they are waiting for an interaction from us humans as we just wander by. With me, that always awakens a sense of insecurity. A sense of respect for this beast in whose terrain we are moving. It is precisely this feeling that Diethard’s son creates in his paintings. They are so direct, so crushing and fascinating that we have to look, can’t avert our gaze and – who we are the observers – feel watches ourselves. The paintings by Irene Müller are very different. While Diethard’s son refers to individual aspects, Irene Müller has turned to the landscape. Her painting is not characterized by photorealistic perfection, but rather by sometimes more and sometimes less abstract landscapes. Irene Müller has a completely different painterly approach: Very sensitive, with deliberately chosen space for one’s own additions and thoughts. It’s the mountains and forests we see, the paths, trees and huts and again and again the red ribbons. We see pictures in cool wintry blue and in the spring-fresh green. And everywhere we find the red wipes. Sometimes as a signpost, sometimes as an unclear, free-floating element, sometimes like blood running down. Whether we should follow them is unclear. The exhibition by Irene Müller and Diethard Sohn shows – so the title reveals – first ways that the two have taken for their artistic cooperation. Other paths that we do not see today, because they have not yet been converted into images, led them into the forces of nature of the Wadden Sea. There, the interventions in nature, which they wanted to illustrate by laying out the ribbons, were quite different. Because wind and rain are not easily interrupted or signowed. They set their own limits and allow human intervention much harder. Surely that’s what excites Mueller & Sohn. The attempt at artistic intervention in one of these violent landscapes. What can man do? How does nature react? And how do nature and man react when an artistic interaction leads to irritation? In the future, they would like to work even more closely with scientists. An expedition to the Arctic … Artistic research together with biologists and/or geographers. This is a goal that Müller & Sohn would like to achieve and one of the many paths they will still take them together. I can only encourage you and cordially invite you to go down afterwards and look at the Watch and listen to the exhibition. Get into the space, the images and the different senses that are addressed. It’s worth it. 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