Bastian Muhr, Gebrauchsgrafik (Commercial Graphics), 2024

The Galerie der Gegenwart, designed by architect Oswald Mathias Ungers, opened in Hamburg in 1997. The redesign of its foyer in the course of reopening the outside entrance to the Galerie der Gegenwart in 2020 will now serve as the starting point for a new series that invites contemporary artists to reimagine the foyer space. This year, the Hamburger Kunsthalle has invited artist Bastian Muhr (b. 1981 in Braunschweig) to kick off the series with an expansive work.

In his artistic practice, Muhr concentrates on formal issues revolving around drawing, developing various systems of lines and forms using a brush, pencil or chalk on paper, concrete or grass. In the process, he radically reduces his signature style until it transforms the surrounding space by way of abstract, autonomous elements. Muhr produces his work series over extended periods of time, regularly developing large site-specific works in and with art institutions or in public space.

For the Hamburger Kunsthalle, he has produced five large modular elements that conjoin function and artistic form. On one side consisting of a library shelf or locker and on the other a drawing, his Gebrauchsgrafik (Commercial Graphics) unite the practical necessities of a foyer with the artist’s own artistic approach. This is expressed in the form of black brushstrokes on large geometric surface in the space – in reference to the omnipresent square dominating the Galerie der Gegenwart. As three-dimensional drawings, these brushstrokes intervene in the museum space, altering it and making it their own. Bastian Muhr employs reduced means here to open up a steady stream of new associations, because his elements can be arranged in different ways in the space. How we perceive them changes depending on the distance between them and from their surroundings as they enter into a dialogue with O.M. Ungers’ architecture and the visitors. In this way, they invite us to continually rediscover the space.

About the artist: Bastian Muhr studied painting and graphic art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig from 2004 to 2010. He then completed his master’s degree with Prof. Annette Schröder in 2013. He has exhibited in solo and group shows in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Slovakia and the USA. His works can be found in collections including the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and the Museum Wiesbaden. Bastian Muhr lives and works in Essen.