Mira Schendel: Monotypes at Hauser & Wirth
Mira Schendel’s Monotypes is on dispay at Hauser & Wirth gallery: a body of work that occupies a realm between opacity and translucency. Shining in the brightest of whites and attracting all the attention on Savile Row, Hauser & Wirth is quite the minimalistic picture in its own right so it feels rather suitable that it should host Monotypes, Schendel’s minimalistic approach to physical materiality.
Monotyping is a technique in art printing that yields only one good impression from each prepared plate. Monotypes are usually made by drawing on glass or a plate of smooth metal or stone with a greasy substance such as ink or oil. However, Schendel’s work consists entirely of oil on rice paper and is made by hand. Therefore the works are “printed drawings” rather than mere prints. Schendel started “tinkering” with a stack of fine Japanese paper but it tore so she decided to try the monotype technique. Instead of “intending to make monotypes”, she used the technique to draw on paper.
Monotypes is an example of Schendel’s early experiments with language and symbols as diverse as Bergsonian theories of time and space. The exhibits are divided into several groups such as Unique Writings, Horizontals, Minimal Lines and Arrows. They are all a mix of thick and thin lines, different shapes, the letters A, B and P, or arrows. In the Architectures section, different lines are connected that build delicate architectural structures.
At the centre of the gallery there are also two hanging installations and a paper sculpture. All of them are made from the same Japanese paper but show Schendel’s varied experimentation. They hang from the gallery’s ceiling and form a further sense of depth and perspective. This, combined with the drawings, creates a fuller picture of Schendel’s experimental period.
Curated by Taisa Palhares and organised with Olivier Renaud-Clément, Monotypes presents a body of work that is key to understanding Schendel’s wider practice, making it a must for the artist’s followers. It is interesting in its study of poetic verse and the principles of time, space and movement within a static work. However, it is a pretty specific exhibition that might fail to attract anyone who is not interested in abstract art or monotypes.
Monotypes is at Hauser & Wirth from 28th January until 7th March 2015, for further information visit here.