Inaugurated in 1985, the Peter Mertes Stipendium is an annual award supporting artists based in the German Rhineland. Each year two artists receive €6,000 and a solo exhibition at Bonner Kunstverein the following year with an accompanying catalogue. Previous recipients include Corinne Wasmuht (1991), Carsten Höller (1995), Gregor Schneider (1996), Monika Baer (1998), Matti Braun (1999), Thea Djordjadze, Friedrich Kunath (both 2001), Gert and Uwe Tobias (2004) and Gerda Scheepers (2005).
This year’s exhibitions mark the end of the 2014 Stipendium which was awarded to the Düsseldorf-based artists Alexander Bornschein and Lukas Müller.
Alexander Bornschein’s work shifts between the categories of object and image. Photographic compositions are printed upon a range of materials including wood, Plexiglas, fabric and PVC. Suspended from the ceiling, draped over or simply leant against the wall they appear reminiscent of garments, flags, hoardings or signs. Their discreet sculptural or architectural presence is underscored by the haptic qualities of their printed imagery which communicates an attention to the texture, surface and form of objects and the way in which they interact with the body.
The surface, or more specifically, patina of a thing assumes a similar focus within the work of Lukas Müller. Over the past eight years Müller has formed a vast archive of imagery by scanning material collected on his daily walks through the Oberbilk area of Düsseldorf. Flyers, business cards, letters, passport photographs, post-it notes scrawled with handwriting, expired credit cards and wallets containing everything but cash are amongst the pocket-worn and weathered articles pictured in Müller’s compositions. Enlarged and printed on fabric, they recall the scaled-up iconography of advertising billboards recontextualised within painterly compositions.
Alexander Bornschein was born in 1986 in Neuss and studied in the class of Professor Christopher Williams at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Previous solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen and at Linn Lühn, Düsseldorf.
Lukas Müller war born in 1986 in Kassel and studied in the class of Albert Oehlen and Andreas Schulze at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
Bornschein and Müller were chosen by a jury comprising Professor Anne-Marie Bonnet (University of Bonn), Dr. Syliva Martin (Director Kunstmuseen Krefeld), Christina Végh (Director of Bonner Kunstverein 2004-2015, Director of the Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover) and Johannes Wohnseifer (artist, Cologne). The two solo exhibitions will be accompanied by a retrospective survey on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Stipendium.