Reinhard Mucha’s work challenges in abstracto discourse by imposing the stubborn presence of things, right here and now. But the materialism is more ironic than triumphant, for these objects are presented in a false immediacy, and skillfully manipulate obviousness and mystery, sometimes to the point of assuming the appearance of riddles to decipher. The uncanniness arises from the juxtaposition or confusion of the familiar and the disturbing, the identifiable and what is no longer. His work resists formalist or historicist analyses by pitting against them a remainder, an irreducible opacity.
Mucha knows that the real space of intervention for artworks is the vast and complex space, beyond museum walls, of a specific cultural and historical sphere. His works are constructed, just like reality. They participate in an art of condensation and montage, of collision of forms and signs, semantic registers, and fields of expertise. They claim and assume a place and a history.
The problem of figure and background, of artwork and setting, is that of art and the order of things. An exhibition is not a more or less contingent arrangement on walls or in space, but the definition of a particular situation with exact physical and mental coordinates. Mucha’s work provides remarkable coherence whilst escaping the systematic, even though he displays a predilection for (not to say an obsession with) certain materials (glass, wood, metal, felt) and formal strategies (vitrinesscreens). He subjectively displaces the function and territory of everyday objects, maintaining doubt as to their identity: found object, salvaged and transformed, or industrial standardized
object. An ironic will to surpass the object and a critique of the current forms and status of artworks informs these “baseless” works or rather works where the base is, literally and figuratively, the context. He works with frames, margins and limits, the gap between artwork and anonymous object, the uncanny and the familiar in a reflection on the aesthetic experience rooted in the German tradition, from Heidegger to Benjamin.
(Based on Catherine David, Centre national d’art moderne and CNAC, 1986)