Matti Brauns solo exhibition at Arnolfini
will present a selection of key works by the Cologne-based artist from the last fifteen years, along with new works. Braun is interested in the way in which meaning shifts between different contexts. Brauns practice explores cultural misunderstandings and their impact on forms and ideas, elucidating social and aesthetic developments that may have been overlooked or buried. His work is often based on concrete histories and stories of specific people and notions, but abstracts away from these into his own formal and conceptual explorations. Following his own research interests, Braun develops an eclectic and elaborate mesh of concepts that challenge conventional interpretations of Modernity.
Central to the presentation at Arnolfini is Brauns work R.T.(since 2003), a project which takes inspiration from an unrealized film by the renowned Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray entitled The Alien. While Rays film was eventually abandoned after negotiations with Hollywood producers, the script for the film became the basis for Spielbergs classic ET. Braun recreated the opening scene of the film as a spatial environment a dark and shimmering lake in the exhibition space, which can be crossed over via logs, cut from a local tree.
Ghor (2000) considers the figure of Leopold Senghor, intellectual, poet and first president of Senegal following independence, particularly his internal conflict around African liberation alongside his essentialising theories of Negritude. With prints and mirrors, Braun reflects the interconnections between Senegal, France and Germany, especially the different projections of European intellectuals on the poet-president (and vice versa).
The work Bunta Garbo (2002) references Andreas Juste, the creator of a universal language called Ido, which was intended to rival Esperanto as the officially recognised world language. The selection of works in the exhibition revolve around individual characters from the period of Modernism that have attempted to form universal world views and languages. Matti Brauns work often deals with his inspirations in opaque ways, leaving opportunity for interpretation and association, for example, with crafts traditions, contemporary aesthetics, design and fashion. As part of the exhibition at Arnolfini, an extensive programme of events will expand on key themes in Brauns work and create opportunities for a public discourse.
Matti Braun, born 1968 in Berlin, lives and works in Cologne. He has shown internationally since the 1990s, amongst others at Kunsthalle Nürnberg (1997) Kunsthalle St. Gallen (2000), Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2002), The Showroom London (2003), Museum Ludwig Köln and Museion, Bozen (2008), and Kunstverein Braunschweig (2010). Most recently, he participated in the exhibition Made in Germany Zwei at Sprengel-Museum Hannover. In 2005, Braun produced a theatre-based work for the performance project If I Cant Dance, I Dont Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution (Festival a/d Werf Utrecht, Theater festival Boulevard Den Bosch, De VeenFabriek Leiden).