Maria Anwander

discrete collection

Arratia Beer, Berlin (March 22 – April 19, 2014)

Maria Anwander, Neue Nationalgalerie, 2014
Maria Anwander, Neue Nationalgalerie, 2014

Maria Anwander’s discrete collection, is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Berlin. Anwander’s multidisciplinary practice encompasses performance, video, photography and installation. Three of the works on view in the gallery; “My Most Favorite Art”, “The Kiss” and “The Contribution” gravitate around the artist explorations on collecting, ownership and authorship.

“My Most Favourite Art” (2004-2014) is an ongoing project in which, for the last decade, the artist has been amassing a collection of artworks labels from the walls of international museums and galleries all over the world. Removed from the walls without permission, Anwander exhibits the nameplates, as souvenirs, as an encyclopedia of her preferences, and ultimately as her own artwork.

Furthermore the dematerialization and deconstruction of images into pure descriptions of themselves and vice versa is at the core of the artist’s endeavor. If in “My Most Favourite Art” Anwander steals labels from exhibition spaces, in the “The Kiss” she takes the opposite approach: Here she “smuggles” an artwork and its label into a museum. In the video, a hand-held camera captures the artist wandering through the rooms of the Museum of Modern Art in New York until she stops and “French kisses” a blank section of a wall. Next to the kiss Anwander attaches a label, which exactly resembles the MoMA captions. With this irreverent gesture Anwander inserts her work (albeit temporarily) in the collection of the museum and subverts the protocols and hierarchies of recognition and validation of the renowned institution.

If the above-mentioned works deal with the economy of labeling, “The Contribution,” Anwander’s most recent performance and video zeros in the economy of names. This time the target of her institutional critique is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Here Anwander is seen surreptitiously adding her name (printed in the patented LACMA-font), to a large list of prominent museum donors, located at the museum entrance. By adding the lettering to the column that reflects the smallest possible amount that donors can give in order to enter the selected circle of patronage, Anwander confers on her name a fictional monetary worth and a social role.

Maria Anwander (Bregenz, Austria 1980) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (2008). Her work has been featured in various solo and group exhibitions in Europe and the Americas such as Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (2013); Matadero Madrid, Center for Contemporary Art (2013); Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico D.F (2012); Casino Luxembourg (2012); AC Institute, New York (2012); Kunst Box Bregenz (2010).In July 2014 Anwander will have a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle St. Gallen, Switzerland.