Maria Thurn und Taxis: The Rules of the Game

29.01.23 – 19.03.23

In her first institutional solo exhibition in Germany, Maria Thurn und Taxis shows collages and paintings created between 2020 and 2022, as well as a new video triptych. The chimeras that the artist, who was born in Regensburg and now lives in London, creates in her works are surreal, mysterious, and sometimes uncanny. She mainly uses the technique of collage; she cuts up source material of different origins and assembles the resulting set pieces into new, unusual compositions. Thurn und Taxis creates pictorial worlds in which, for example, images from botanical reference works meet depictions of indigenous rites, fragments of ballet positions merge with fungal cultures, and pictures of ancient Greek ceramics function as containers for South American botany. Occasionally, the artist even dispenses with the diversion via representations and simply inserts flowers and leaves she has collected on walks directly into her compositions.

At times, Thurn und Taxis weaves painted components into and around the collaged parts of the picture. Sometimes she highlights individual collage sections in this way, but in these pictures, painting usually appears in the form of lush patches of color that testify to spontaneity and self-confidence. While the artist's collages inevitably bring to mind the surrealist guiding principle of the Comte de Lautréamont (1846-1879), who in his Les Chants de Maldoror defines beauty as “the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table", these painted sections recall another process that was important in surrealism: automatic writing or drawing.

Following her preferred technique for works on paper, Thurn und Taxis also creates her video works: She cuts out individual parts from existing films of various origins and production styles – film classic movies, feature films, or animated cartoons – and then reassembles them using the technique of montage. Anodynes, the title of her video triptych shown at the Kebbel-Villa, refers to a name for a painkiller or narcotic that is now obsolete and no longer used.

Maria Thurn und Taxis (*1980 in Regensburg, lives in London) studied film theory at the American University of Paris and fine art at Camberwell College of Art and Chelsea College of Art and Design at the University of the Arts London. In 2010 she completed her MA in Fine Art at the City and Guilds of London Art School. Her work has been shown internationally in solo and group exhibitions, including "Pars pro toto" (with Jörg Buttgereit), Art Berlin, Tempelhof Airport (2019), "Hypnagogia", Siegfried Contemporary, London (2019), "Mademoiselle", Centre régional d'Art Contemporain Occitanie, Sète (2018), "Gewölke am Abend", Traklhaus, Salzburg (solo exhibition 2017), "Waywards", Ebensperger, Berlin (2016), and "Shape Shifters (Cambia Formas)", Galeria Slyzmud, Buenos Aires (2014).

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