On the occasion of his comprehensive solo exhibition at the Kunstverein Braunschweig, Mandla Reuter has developed spatial concepts and installations especially for the Villa Salve Hospes. Through both subtle and radical interventions, he examines questions of art production, presentation contexts, and the formats of exhibition display.
Mandla Reuter’s installations and interventions thoroughly examine the functions of spaces and their metamorphoses by testing the mechanisms that control and represent space and how flows of information and the movement of bodies can be diverted. Blockades and expansions, obstacles and new passages compel visitors to Reuter’s exhibitions to find new ways through the space and enable them to experience the typically neutral exhibition space as the result of inclusions and exclusions, of lighting, sound, and separation from the external environment. In this way Reuter’s interventions demonstrate that the production of space is an active process.
Mandla Reuter interprets the conditions of the site as raw material, in order to work on them, call them into question, and, ultimately, give them a new meaning. In this spirit, Reuter shifted the opening times of the Kunstverein Braunschweig by six hours – thus not only transferring the exhibition space into another time zone, but also playing with quality of the light that predominates in the spaces at the Villa Salve Hospes at dusk and in the evening. In this way, the lighting not only functionally illuminates the space, but is staged by Reuter explicitly as a formal design element of the location- and time-specific installation.
At the same time, the artist heightens the ambivalence between nature – such as geographical conditions – and artifice. By placing objects and material in places that are unusual for them, he defies prevailing expectations. Or he organizes rooms according to the needs of objects: cooling a room for ice, illuminating plants with UV lamps. In this way he indicates a contrast with the original unaltered surroundings.
Mandla Reuter has relocated the entrance to his exhibition at the Kunstverein Braunschweig to the rear of the building. Contradicting the motto “salve hospes”, found above the door to the villa, the artist closed the entryway with a wall. Only discreet hints indicate to the public the way around the building and over the terrace to the exhibition space. Contrary to architectural guidelines that are supposedly “set in stone”, Mandla Reuter succeeds in modeling his way of thinking for the viewer and enabling a new relationship between viewer and space to emerge.
Mandla Reuter (born 1975 in Nqutu, South Africa; lives in Berlin) studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt from 1996 to 2002. In 2013 and 2014 he had solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Basel and the Kunstmuseum Bonn respectively. In addition, he participated in numerous group exhibitions, such as “Made in Germany 2” in Hannover (2012), at the Kunsthalle Wien (2006, 2015), and the Kunsthaus Baselland (2010).
Curated by: Jule Hillgärtner / Curatorial assistance: Aline Fieker