Mark Manders

One Frozen Moment

Mark Manders hauntingly serene sculptures, objects
and printed matter read as if abandoned in time.

by Dan Rule NOV 2013

The notion of deferral doesn’t carry the most romantic of connotations. In the contemporary context, the proposition of a delay, reschedule or adjournment amounts to a hindrance. Our hyperactive communicatory mode requires constant motion, dialogue, data exchange, decision-making and amendment. We no longer just sit by the phone, waiting for the call. Put simply, we’re not about to die wondering.

The work of Dutch artist Mark Manders traces a very different kind of trajectory. His elusive sculptural, installation and drawing practice is almost arcane in its erasure of chronology and time as we consider it. His works, which he meticulously assembles, casts and fashions in his rambling studio, resemble readymade objects, oblique furniture, scaled down, abstracted industrial architecture, half-finished human and animal figures and fictional newspapers – all caught in a specific, seemingly discarded moment.

“What I am fascinated with now and really throughout my whole career is the idea that if I make something and it is finished, then I will leave it behind when I am gone,” he offers in his mild Dutch cadence, chatting from the large factory that houses his studio in the small Belgian town of Ronse, just outside of Ghent. “Leaving something behind and freezing my thoughts…it’s my profession to do that and it’s a privilege to do that.”

But the 44-year-old’s practice, which has spanned more than two decades and seen him undertake solo exhibitions at a swathe of major European and North American museums and institutions (including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, the Aspen Art Museum, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Kunsthaus Zurich, Bergen Kunsthall, SMAK in Ghent and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam among countless others), is not without a compass. Manders, whose exhibition in the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Room with Broken Sentence, shows until November 24, operates to a defined set of conceptual and metaphorical parameters underwritten by their unequivocal starting... Subscribe to read this article in full

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