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Œuvre présentée dans l'exposition Nina Beier et Marie Lund . The Object Lessons
Nina Beier & Marie Lund

The Object Lessons

Nina Beier and Marie Lund’s exhibition takes as a starting point a fictional text written by London-based curator Francesco Pedraglio, following the artists’ invitation to write a subjective text on their 2009 show at De Vleeshal in Middelburg. This text features two artists who, in the story, produce new works. The exhibition at Mudam is based on a new series of works taking their inspiration from the sculptures described in the story.

The exhibition which Nina Beier and Marie Lund have devised for Mudam draws its inspiration from a fictional text written by the art critic Francesco Pedraglio, following the artists’ invitation to make a subjective reading of their previous show, held in autumn 2009 at De Vleeshal in Middelburg, the Netherlands.

Brought together under the shared title The Object Lessons, the two exhibitions and the narrative that links them together are less the result of the implementation of a pre-ordained plan than the development of something akin to a sequence of echoes: an exhibition giving rise to a fictional text, itself engendering an exhibition. This development is emblematic of the pivotal place occupied by the interpretative process in the works of Nina Beier and Marie Lund, the production or activation of which regularly involve the intervention of other people. It is also representative of the way the two artists work together, especially gravitating around specific exhibition formats enabling them to combine individual and joint works.

© Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, Croy Nielsen, Berlin

Like Francesco Pedraglio’s text, which describes the encounter between two sculptors driven by the same concerns for the transitory nature of materials, albeit stone, the works in the show emphasise the different temporalities which overlap in the art work, from its conception to its possible destruction, by way of the time-frames of its display and its reading.

The series The Very White Marbles (2010) by Marie Lund thus takes the form of some ten found sculptures whose surfaces have been systematically reworked, altering their initial shapes to the point of a certain abstraction and laying bare their material quality. A similar process of erasure is at work in Nina Beier’s series Closing Argument (2010), made up of framed posters, whose frames and glass have been sanded in such a way that the information they contain is reduced to blurred and abstract forms. At work in these pieces is a confusion between their material manifestation, their point of origin, and their possible destinations, shedding light on the density of their temporality.

Other works are activated in each new presentation or throughout the exhibition, such as Nina Beier’s wall piece On the Uses and Disadvantages of WET PAINT (2010), for which a patch of paint is growing every day, as it is painted over with a different coloured paint from the stock of the museum.

Through these different operations of alteration and activation, it is the art object itself which Nina Beier and Marie Lund are inviting us to reconsider. Their works veer away from traditional considerations of form and content in order to grasp the object in terms of potentiality: far from lending substance to a determined sense, it condenses the different times which overlap in it, but also the varied interpretations and narratives it may give rise to.

© Courtesy Laura Bartlett Gallery, Londres, Croy Nielsen, Berlin, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City

The most disturbing illustration of this approach occurs perhaps in the work History Makes a Young Man Old (2008/2010), by the two artists, taking the form of a crystal ball rolled from the place where it was purchased to its final destination, to wit, the place of its exhibition, or the collection it has found its way into. If the object, marked by the many impacts undergone during its itinerary, has lost its limpid quality, it now crystallises both its own history and the histories it may prompt.

It is also this narrative potential of objects that we are reminded of by the intermittent reading of Francesco Pedraglio’s text within the exhibition by the museum staff, thus extending the sequence of echoes between the works and the narrative that has given rise to them.


  • Christophe Gallois