For this exhibition, Mariele Neudecker consistently pursues the endeavour to take landscape to the breaking point, especially in view of Romantic symbolism. Whereas in the past her work has revolved around atmospherically condensed mountain, lake and forest landscapes in glass display cases, now – under the title Faintly Falling Upon All the Living and the Dead, the artist ‘transplants’ life-size casts of trees into the gallery. The fibreglass sculptures are faithful reproductions of nature, lopped at a height of four metres and robbed of both their crowns and their needles. Especially against the background of the second gallery installation Kindertotenlieder, layers of association form: the tree as a symbol of life. It is not without reason that a tree is customarily planted on the occasion of a child’s birth. Its leafless counterpart, however, can be understood as a visual manifestation of mortal fear.
At the same time, Mariele Neudecker makes a statement on the role of contemporary sculpture. The small area of forest fl oor upon which the trees are positioned like columns on a base is cut on all four sides in such a way as to expose the material and the artistic method of reproduction to view.
‘Faintly Falling Upon All the Living and the Dead’ refers to the monumental and permanent installationen ‘This Thing Called Darkness’ by Mariele Neudecker, which will be presented at the Towada Art Centre, Towada (Japan) April 2008.
Part Two of the exhibition consists of two small models and a room which can be physically entered by the viewer. They emerged from Mariele Neudecker’s preoccupation with Gustav Mahler’s ‘Kindertotenlieder’, meditations on the death of children. Mahler chose them from a series – bearing the same title – of more than four hundred lamentations written by the German poet Friedrich Rückert in 1871.
Each room portrays a different form of mourning: painful grief, numbness and loving memory. Despite the acoustic overlapping, every song is heard to good effect in its own surroundings. The first piece in Mahler’s cycle announces the child’s death. Through the window of the room, Mariele Neudecker projects the image of a sunset onto the interior wall. Here landscapes appear both as a stage set and as a framed picture. A domestic environment is thus merged with a vision of nature.
Due to the stage-like character, the unprocessed appearance of the rooms’ exterior walls and the exposed installation of the projection equipment, the romantic analogy created by the work is strongly alienated from the visible outer frame as the conception of an inner world.
(Text: Angelika Richter)