Ulrike Müller, Heatwave



Ulrike Müller

In an extraordinary performance, some years ago, the New-York based artist Ulrike Müller explained Franz Erhard Walther’s First Work Set (1963–69) to her painting series Heatwave (2010). It was liberating to see the way the artist talked with, rather than about, her paintings and thereby intertwined anew, for we viewers, relations of subject/ object, closeness/ distance, and active/ passive modes. Ulrike Müller’s paintings, the actual addressees, were probably familiar with such fusions, since the bodies and shapes in them constantly dissolve and re-form in their own unique ways, evading usual ascriptions. Ulrike Müller’s images, although abstract, repeatedly evoke associations with the viewer’s own physical sensations and constructions of self. Some of them, including the Heatwave series on show here, are enameled, which lends them a seductive haptic yet also puts them in the realm of objects and ornaments of daily use. For me, the work also evokes a vague connection with products of the sadly now closed down local Kupfermühle Ceramic Works, which I am slowly beginning to discover.