The tradition of mural painting goes back to prehistoric times and brings to mind static symbolic positionings and decorative designs created with various “positive” painting techniques ranging from wet to dry, using stencils or digital processes. In the 1960s, artists used the medium of mural painting to rebel against the emerging art market, based on the fact that the works, installed permanently or temporarily, were not put up for sale. Today, temporary murals are one of numerous media, but they depart deliberately from traditional painting and are in the process of conquering three-dimensional space.
Karin Sander’s “wall pieces”, which she has been creating since the mid-1990s in museum spaces such as the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, are minimal, subtle interventions that blend in with the surrounding space to such a degree that they are hardly noticeable. In contrast to traditional murals, the high-gloss polished rectangular area is shifts slightly back from the surface. The shiny mirrored surface is created by gradually removing a wafer-thin layer of emulsion paint by about a tenth of a millimetre: this creates a sense of floating lightness that stands in stark contrast to the heavy wall construction.
Sander’s wall piece at the Akademie der Künste is a response to Yves Klein’s 1958 Untitled White Monochrome (M 33). She removes the idea of white monochromy by creating a polished mirror surface on which lively iridescent images of the room and the life unfolding in it take shape.
In the exhibition:
Karin Sander Wandstück, 140 × 100 cm, 1986 / 2021 Wall paint, polished Courtesy of the artist + Esther Schipper Gallery
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