Martin Schwenk's works at Museum Haus Lange radiate an atmosphere of enchantment, just like the naturalia in the cabinets of curiosities and wonders in times gone by. A vegetal world as graceful as it is bizarre winds its way through the clear, uncluttered rooms of the villa that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed in 1927/28. The dialogue between nature and architecture, which Mies fostered by the large picture windows, has been extended by Martin Schwenk's singular objects to become a reflection on beauty and the mundane world, virtuality and materiality, presence and evanescence. Schwenk has put the classic theme of 'nature' up once more for discussion, now from a topical, artistic perspective.
Since the 1990s, Martin Schwenk (*1960 Bonn, lives and works in Düsseldorf) has deliberated in his work on nature as a screen for projecting our emotions, as a vestige of our society, and as the starting point for artistic work. His biomorphic creations dangle from the walls and ceilings and trail across the floor. Every plant is an individual, whose origins and constitution remain, however, shrouded in mystery. At times the artist finds inspiration for his sculptures in the remnants of a once cultivated nature that can be found in the interstices of built-up urban spaces.
Schwenk uses materials that can be bought at regular hardware stores - such as Plexiglas, polyester, epoxy resin, foam, plastic foil or plaster. He works these in elaborate and painstaking processes into figures that not only point to fantastic vegetal worlds, but also highlight their very fabric.
Over the last few years their effusive materiality has become increasingly central. Although the allusions to plant formations are still there, they have taken a step backward. The wondrous reveals itself now in the mushrooming and proliferation of an exuberant matter. The sculptures come across as raw, less modelled, but have lost none of their fascinating strangeness. Martin Schwenk extracts the weird and wilful side from the mundane and quotidian.
The exhibition Home Grown - the title alludes with deliberate vagueness to such phenomena as domesticity, hobby activities, the everyday, and things that grow with time - above all features sculptures and drawings from the last five years. In addition, the artist has incorporated a specially made mural into his exhibition concept.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue in English and German with texts by Annelie Pohlen and Heinz-Norbert Jocks, a foreword by Martin Hentschel, and a documentation of the exhibits.
The publication is planned for the end of April.