Visual Mechanics


Curated by Mark Mangion

14 May → 31 May 2009
Malta Contemporary Art, Marsa

Visual Mechanics is an exhibition combining two important strands of Martina Schmuecker’s recent work - one being a new series of drawings, the other a newly developed performance. Her drawings resemble technical or architectural plans for buildings or machinery, and show fragile and abstract constructions that look impossible to build in reality and yet give the impression of being plans derived from already existing forms. The performance “Orbit Green” is an equally constructed image. Here a woman is seen reclining on a narrow plinth, wrapped in green fabric and surrounded by screens that obstruct the view onto the performance. The restrictions in viewing the performance turn it into a study of habits of looking. The manipulation of the view is a key element of this work that uses the viewer’s imagination to complete the image on show, by manipulating the way the work can be looked at. 

Martina Schmuecker makes sculptures in the widest sense of the word. Using herself as well as directing actors in her work, she creates visually stunning images that remind us of the tableaux vivant. The performances are moments of still reflection on a sculptural image, using elements of architecture and furniture as props as well as playing with well-known images from art history. Her performance work to date, has included a construction of the “back” of the painting “The pleasure principle “ by Rene Magritte performed by her German gallerist, the staging of a fight for two hands in “Colorfight” and "Auszeit", an orange box with long legs patiently waiting on a public square in London. 
A central point in Martina’s performances is the desire to question the relation between the viewer and art object. Her work analyzes the viewer’s relation with the object and manipulates this relation through the restricted and partly obstructed view of the work during the performance. The work itself becomes a floating image in the visitor’s memory and the construction of this memory during the performance becomes part of the work on show. The continued display of the leftovers of the work after it has been ‘performed’ give a further possibility of ‘image construction’ during the duration of the show.

Martina Schmuecker (Lives and works in London & Berlin) graduated with an MA in sculpture from the Royal College of Art in 2005 after studying at the University of the Arts in Berlin. Recent exhibitions include Beyond the pale yellow Amusementpark, Campbell Works, London 2008, Twelve, Haus am Luetzowplatz, Berlin 2008, The Problem of Error, Gallery Sassa Truelzsch, Berlin 2008, Glimpse Gallery KraskaEckstein, Bremen 2007, Chateau Ivre, Schloss Sacrow, Potsdam 2007, Contained, Hiscox Art Projects, London 2007, New Contemporaries, London 2005, Let Me Hear Your Body Talk, Arti et Amititiae, Amsterdam, 2005. She is also a Visiting Tutor for the BA Fine Art course at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford University.