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Daniel Buren Creates an Impressive Mirror-Installation for "Synagoge Stommel
French artist Daniel Buren created an impressive mirror-installation for the international art project 'Synagoge Stommeln'. The artwork titled 'multiplication' can be visited between 29 August 2010 and 19 December 2010. 72 year-old Buren has covered two opposite walls of a small, squared room with mirrors creating a seemingly endless space by reflecting high windows, a Torah ark and a women's gallery. EPA/FEDERICOGAMBARDINI

PULHEIM-STOMMELN.- On August 29, Daniel Buren will open the latest edition of the Stommeln art projects with his oeuvre “Multiplications, Work in Situ for a Synagogue.”

The subtitle “in situ” – on site – which Buren bestows on virtually all of his artwork, is simultaneously the defining characteristic of his approach:The works are created on location, yet above all they draw attention to the location more so than to any particular aspect of the artist’s handwriting.The artist reduces his language of forms to the neutral uniformity of vertical stripes 8.7 cm (about 3.5 in) wide, which he has used since the mid-1960s to cover any painting surface – billboards, canvas or walls.

Foregoing the use of an image motif, Buren liberates painting form the need to represent or depict something or to serve any kind of external purpose or content.Not least, the artist also subordinates himself to the subject of his artistic inquiry.Instead, his stripes highlight existing structure and realities of the location, architectonic particulars, the parameters of a given institution and their ideological context.According to Buren, the stripe painting is only a means, a “visual tool,” that he uses to explore a specific show- and presentation-related situation down to its access ways and the gallery staff.

“The visual tool is no longer a work to be seen, or to be beheld, but is the element that permits you to see or behold something else.”¹

Ultimately, this puts the viewer’s gaze at the centre of Buren’s inquiries.“The ‘visual tool’ serves the purpose of revealing the conditioned nature of perception and to make it transparent and thus to recover its natural origin.The work itself withdraws from the field of vision.It vanishes and generates the visibility that matters to Buren – paradoxically by means of its own invisibility.”²

The oeuvre of the artist, who was born in Boulogne-Billancourt in 1938 and who likes to reduce his biography to the single line “lives and works in situ,” has entered art history under the key term “institutional critique.”From the start, Buren has always matched his practical artwork with extensive theoretical writing in which he discusses who and what art can actually be, where, when and how it may take place, and which rules of the game are decisive in this context.

Nonetheless, Buren has of course shown his work at all major institutions of the operating system of art, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2005) and the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2007).Few artists have been as regular a presence at international exhibitions of contemporary art as he.He was invited no less than six times to the Venice Biennale since 1972, to the Documenta in Kassel in 1972, 1977 and 1982, and to the Sculpture Project Muenster.His best known work, however, is found in the public realm:In 1985/1986, he created Les Deux Plateaux in the Court d’Honneur at the Palais Royal in Paris.

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August 29, 2010

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