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Aspen Art Museum Presents Artist Mark Manders's Museum-Wide Parallel Occurrences
Mark Manders, Anthropological Trophy (2010). Courtesy of the artist; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.
ASPEN, CO.- The Aspen Art Museum presents the museum-wide exhibition Mark Manders: Parallel Occurrences/Documented Assignments. Co-organized with the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles—where it was on view from through January 2, 2011—the exhibition will remain on view at the AAM through Sunday, May 1, 2011, and will travel to the Walker Art Center (June 2 – September 11, 2011), and the Dallas Museum of Art (January 15 – April 15, 2012).

Since 1986, Mark Manders has been engaged in what he calls his “Self-Portrait as a Building,” an ongoing and monumental project that has come to define his overall practice. Language, as title, content, and formal structure, remains a key element of a process in which objects are accumulated in a manner that replicate sentences. As the artist explains, “this building can shrink or expand at any moment… all words created by mankind are on hand.” In effect, Manders gives thoughts physical form, his hypothetical building becoming an evolving space through which he investigates the process of thinking.

Manders’s installations employ everyday objects (sugar, tea bags, a pencil, a toothpaste tube) as narrative subjects. The ordinariness of the objects imbues the work with a poetic tension—things are familiar but isolated from their original function, somehow wrong. The installations typically include roughly modeled figures and modern furnishings that have been altered, combined in surreal ways, or reduced in size and scale just enough to create an alienating effect (for example, to 88 percent of normal size). Manders mysterious and uncanny sculptural tableaux—part still life, part exquisite corpse—creates a physical as well as mental space for the viewer to, as he puts it, “enter the world of objects and matter and find poetry in it... and to know how poorly we normally see our daily life.”

An extension of the Aspen Art Museum’s presentation of Mark Manders: Parallel Occurrences/Documented Assignments, titled Two Interconnected Houses (2010), is being shown in collaboration with The Thrift Shop of Aspen. The project features a projected loop of eighty photographic slides that will be on view within The Thrift Shop during regular business hours. Manders is interested in visitors/shoppers unexpectedly encountering the work and perhaps questioning whether it may be one of the many store items available for purchase.



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