M I L E N T I L L
March 11 – April 22, 2023
We are very pleased to announce the exhibition Master Cards by the young German-French artist Milen Till, who is deeply committed to conceptualism and ready-made art.
To call Till a pure conceptual artist, however, would fall short. Rather, he must be seen as a humorously obsessed archaeologist of contemporary art.
In his multilayered works, Till mostly deals with iconographic works of famous artists. He peels out their essential features, alienates them, contextualizes them, establishes intriguing connections, and gives them a new meaning. In doing so, he sometimes deliberately leads the viewer astray, sometimes right to the core of the alienated works. What he always succeeds in doing, however, is ironically working with and paying tribute to the works of his idols in equal measure. He directs our gaze to the weight of meaning in visual art and at the same moment lends it a sympathetic, surprising, tongue-in-cheek lightness.
In his exhibition Master Cards, Till now devotes himself to digesting, processing, alienating, and refining contemporary art history using postcards from museum stores. Over the past five years, he has amassed some 20,000 postcards of world-famous works of art during visits to museums around the globe. With meticulous cheek, he assembles them into sculptural installations, playful wall pieces, or small, charming marginal notes.
He arranges postcards of Yves Klein’s legendary work Monochrome Blue into a six-meter-long solar panel, Gerhard Richter’s famous candle painting finds its purpose in a simple Bauhaus candlestick, Jasper Johns’s charred toasts end up in a toaster, and he composes an airy house of cards from the austere, melancholy half-timbered house photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher; works by Kenneth Noland and Jasper Johns, reminiscent of targets, are unerringly pierced with darts; postcards by Joseph Beuys lead the viewer through the gallery space as a central, yellow stripe, as if the old master of Conceptual Art were still setting the direction, but with a thoroughly transparent intention, because the stripe is dotted, so overtaking is allowed.
In addition to these works, each of which is dedicated to a single artist and work, the second room contains the series No Brainer, which is compiled from the postcards of several artists. Arranged in a circle, they form wall objects that from a distance look like large, colorful flowers. Each individual work is dedicated to its own theme. Thus, postcard motifs by Paul Klee and Salvador Dalí are arranged into a multilayered homage to Gertrude Stein, and images by Claude Monet and Robert Delaunay into an associative circle dance for the Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Each work in the exhibition itself was printed as a postcard. In the last room of the gallery they are lined up on aluminum stretcher frames, which originally served as a support for a canvas painting. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to take a card, add a text, and address it to anyone. The card will be stamped and mailed by the gallery—in the service of the artist and art.
Milen Till was born in Munich in 1984. Together with his brother Amédée, he formed the legendary DJ duo Kill the Tills before turning to visual arts in 2016. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich with Gregor Hildebrandt, where he graduated with a master’s degree in 2020. While still a student, he participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including at Galerie Crone, Berlin; Galerie Ruttkowski, Cologne; Galerie Klüser, Munich; Baumwollspinnerei Leipzig; Kunstverein Heppenheim; Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve, Paris; Avlskarl Gallery, Copenhagen; Villa Schöningen, Potsdam; Villa Stuck, Munich; Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin; and the Romanian Cultural Institutes in Berlin and Paris. Till’s first book, Till Now, will be published by Hatje Cantz in April.