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Matrix 214: Mark Manders

February 6 – April 10, 2005

Manders Commissioned to Create New Installation for First West Coast Show

Berkeley, CA, December 9, 2004 -- The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents MATRIX 214: Mark Manders The Absence of Mark Manders, on view from February 6 through April 10, 2005. Netherlands-based artist Mark Manders' sculptures and installations juxtapose everyday objects and architectural fixtures to create disturbingly quizzical tableaux. His work has shown at The Art Institute of Chicago, the 49th Venice Biennale, XXIV Bienal de Sao Paolo, Documenta 11, Kassel, as well as at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. This is his first exhibition on the West Coast.

"The realization that life is taking its course, even without you, is an intense human experience; it shows the finiteness of personality," Manders wrote in a 1994 text titled The Absence of Mark Manders. Manders' MATRIX exhibition of the same name consists of an odd amalgam of sculptures arranged to connote a gigantic living room — one whose inhabitants are missing. For his MATRIX exhibition, curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator, Manders has been commissioned to create several new sculptures, including Writing Machine (working title), which explores the notions of invisibility and creative inspiration.

Over the past eighteen years, Mark Manders has produced numerous installations as part of a long-term project titled Self-Portrait as a Building, an evolving space through which he investigates the process of thinking. Self-Portrait as a Building is a piece of purely imaginary architecture that is at once a personal archive, an encyclopedia of references and meanings, and a forum for experimentation. The installations, which employ everyday objects such as sugar, tea bags, a pencil, or a toothpaste tube as narrative subjects, typically include roughly modeled figures and modern furnishings that have been altered, combined in surreal ways, or reduced just enough to create an alienating effect.

"The ordinariness of the objects," writes MATRIX curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, "imbues the work with a poetic tension — things are familiar but, isolated from their original function, somehow wrong. ... It is through his odd interventions that traces of the artist's presence are suggested, as if the viewer had stumbled upon the furniture of Manders's mindscape. The disparate pieces suggest the constantly evolving construction of Manders's own identity both as a private person and as a public figure, a mental menagerie that has found physical expression in the form of a series of surreal 'rooms'."

If the "building" of Manders's ongoing self-portrait is a fictional architecture, it is also occupied by an imaginary persona who shares the artist's name and his qualities ("neurotic and poetic"). Manders wrote in 2002, "The artist Mark Manders is a fictional person. He is a character who lives in a logically designed and constructed world, which consists of thoughts that are congealed at their moment of greatest intensity. It is someone who disappears into his actions."

Born in 1968 in Volke, The Netherlands, Mark Manders belongs to a generation of post-minimal sculptors. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago and The Art Institute of Chicago (2003); The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2000); Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (1998); and The Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1994). Important group exhibitions include Sonsbeek 9, Arnhem, and the 49th Venice Biennale (2001), XXIV Bienal de Sao Paolo (1999); and Documenta 11, Kassel, and Drawing Now: Eight Propositions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2002).

MATRIX 214: Mark Manders The Absence of Mark Manders is organized by BAM/PFA and curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator. The exhibition will not tour.


Public Programs
Artists' Talks: Mark Manders, Althea Thauberger
Sunday, February 6, 4 p.m.
Gallery 3 and 1

MATRIX artists Mark Manders and Althea Thauberger, with concurrent exhibitions in Galleries 3 and 1, independently talk about their work with MATRIX Curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson and answer questions from museum visitors. Reception follows.

For further information, visit the exhibition page.