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In 2021, the art exhibition of the Ruhrfestspiele, which looks back on a history spanning more than seven decades, invites Mariechen Danz to present her work. She is the youngest visual artist ever to receive this honor.
Danz’s art takes the (im)possibilities of communication and the transfer of knowledge as its point of departure and places the human body at the center of her process-based practice. In her sculptures, drawings, costumes, and performances, she probes the expressive potentials and limitations of language, the legibility of signifiers and their hierarchical systems. Her artistic discourse insistently encircles the subjectivity of all human understanding, replacing one-dimensional explanatory models with empathy and curiosity.
Decolonial approaches let Mariechen Danz unsettle Eurocentric conceptions of history and ideas of value and dismantle the neat compartmentalization that is key to the order and rule we impose on the world. Fixed boundaries prove volatile, giving way to an ongoing and interminable learning process. For Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Danz designs rooms that serve as a kind of theatrical setting for her works while also transforming the museum’s architecture and opening it up. In light of the recent resurgence of populist strategies of power and the shrinking social capacity for empathy, Danz’s art, which prods us to communicate and engage each other in dialogue, is more relevant than ever.
Mariechen Danz was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1980. She studied at the Berlin University of the Arts, the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, and the California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been shown at the Venice and Istanbul Biennales; Haus der Kunst, Munich; MAK—Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthaus Bregenz; the New Museum, New York, and elsewhere. Danz now lives and works in Berlin.