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Städel Museum presents Michael Müller: The Given Day. Castor & Polydeuces

October 14, 2022–February 19, 2023

Michael Anthony Müller, a German-British artist, has a solo show at the Städel Museum. With a large-scale installation, sketches, paintings, and a sculpture, the artist transports viewers to the fabled world of ancient Greece in three exhibition areas.

The Given Day (2021–2022), an artwork based on the Dioscuri myth of the twins Castor and Polydeuces, serves as the exhibition’s focal point. When Castor, a mortal, dies during a battle, the symbiotic brothers are split apart. The two brothers are given a shared life—a life in between the worlds—by Zeus. The brothers will now alternate between spending a day in the underworld of Hades and a day among the gods on Mount Olympus. In order to introduce visitors to the narrative, a prologue made up of drawings and a sculpture by Müller interacts with works on paper from the Städel Museum‘s collection. With his site-specific piece The Given Day, Müller also has different concepts of time enter into dialogue: Firstly, there is the physical notion of time, which allows for a subdivision of time segments into objective units; secondly, there is human-existential time, which evades such a strict subdivision. The work measures a total of 6 x 65 metres and is made up of 24 large-format canvases. They symbolize the 24 hours of the day, and Müller painted each exclusively at the hour of the day for which the respective canvas stands. The exhibition culminates in the garden halls, where Müller presents further groups of works and quite literally accompanies the visitors into the “underworld”.

In the Städel Museum, Müller offers a multifaceted artistic study on the meaning of time, mortality, and love that remains outside of time through the medium of painting while also extending beyond its limitations. In the process, he considers abstraction’s possibilities and poses the fundamental query: Can an abstract piece of art tell a story?

“The audience of the Städel Museum is invited to immerse themselves in Michael Müller’s pictorial world. His paintings present a contemplative, almost meditative way of working that includes thinking about the way the works evolve and highlighting that process. With the Michael Müller solo exhibition, the Städel Museum is presenting an artist who, in his most recent works, reflects on the significance and boundaries of painting in the 21st century,” comments Philipp Demandt, Director of the Städel Museum.

Michael Anthony Müller (born in 1970 in Ingelheim am Rhein) lives and works in Berlin. He studied Sculpture and Fine Art at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art under Magdalena Jetelová, before living for eight years in the High Himalayas in Alchi and Changspa (Ladakh). From 2015 to 2018 he was a guest professor at Berlin University of the Arts. His paintings, sculptures, video works, performances, and installations have been shown in international group and solo exhibitions. Between 2013 and 2017, the exhibition cycle Eighteen Exhibitions included 33 exhibition projects and four performances, presented at Galerie Thomas Schulte, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden.

Curator: Svenja Grosser (Deputy Head of the Collection of Contemporary Art) 

Städel Museum
Schaumainkai 63
60596 Frankfurt am Main

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