Claudia & Julia Müller


26 March – 23 May 2004; Opening: 25 March 2004, 7 p.m.


The Kunstmuseum Thun is showing the first comprehensive solo exhibition of the works of Claudia and Julia Müller (*1964/*1965). These Basel artists rank among the most important representatives of the current Swiss art scene. They have been present on that scene for almost ten years and have taken part in numerous exhibitions at home and abroad. The show in Thun brings together a selection of works and work groups that provides a representative survey of the oeuvre of the two sisters. New works indicate the current status of their artistic research; the installation works on show are further developments of earlier forms and are complemented by a new large room installation.

Claudia and Julia Müller made a name for themselves mainly with their drawings. They have produced series of drawings on paper (Eurobilder, 1998, or Random Signs, 2000), and have also worked with large formats drawn directly onto walls. Since the mid-1990s they have been creating installation works that link the pictorial worlds of their drawings to spatial interventions. More recently, the artists have also been using video, in the 2002/03 installation Idylls, for example, in which they fade figures from different drawings in and out, thus giving rise to an open construct of possible constellations – an image of the fragility of human communities. Objects are assuming an ever greater importance in their spatial works: used toys and books, travel souvenirs, stuffed animals in particular, become stores of memories, longings and life-stories.

The Müller sisters begin their artistic research by questioning simple, everyday images, which they find in their own private store, in the media, or in archives. They seek the subversive in the everyday, the obsessive in the normal. There is something uncanny behind the apparent naivety of their artistic idiom. Yet what at first sight seems amateurish actually conceals complexity. Working with series and groups of images, the artists bring about pictorial confrontations from which, as from the web of meaning between things and persons, they attempt to draw their potential. Yet despite the many subjective references, Claudia and Julia Müller are conceptual in their approach. Their main focus is on relationships, be they between people, between people and animals, or between living creatures and things. Many of their works can be placed in the energy field between the indigenous and popular on the one hand, and the alien and exotic on the other. Their themes and positions are hazardous, and they always defend them with empathy and passion.

Claudia and Julia Müller live and work in Basel. They have had solo exhibitions, among others, at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (1994), the Kunsthalle Fri-Art, Fribourg (1996), the Kunsthalle Basel (1998) and the Museo Reina Sophia, Madrid (2003). In 1999/2000 they were in New York as P.S.I. grant holders, and in 2002 were part of the artistic team "Panorama Schweiz" for the expo.02 in Murten.

This exhibition will travel on to the Kunstverein Graz in an altered form curated by Eva Maria Stadler (1 December 2004 – 30 January 2005).

Catalogue (German/English) with texts by Daniel Baumann, Charles Esche, Madeleine Schuppli and Eva Maria Stadler, edited by Madeleine Schuppli, Kunstmuseum Thun and Christoph Merian Verlag, ISBN 3-85616-221-6, price: CHF 39.–

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