Volkel, Netherlands, 1968. Lives and works in Ronse, Belgium
Composition with Yellow Rectangles, 2013-2016
Offsetprint and acrylic on paper, chicken wire, aluminium
51.09 X 35.49 in
Mark Manders has a well established work system: he creates multiple pieces of art at once, involving himself in all aspects of the production process.
Language, composition and time are three concepts that appear frequently when one reads about Manders’s production. Pieces like Composition with Yellow Rectangles encapsulate a profound reflection on time especially: the time contained in the work, the time toward which he points us, the time it takes us to observe it and explore it. Thinking about this aspect and about the process of repetition, the artist compares the spectator’s confrontation with the sculptures to the process of reading a book. Manders explains it as follows: “The objects are physically related to the body. If Kafka writes a line, the reader must read those lines in order. The ideas are structured in a determined manner. Sculpture, for its part, has a particular relationship to time. Like a book, an essay or a story, sculpture is made up of ideas, but they are ideas that are frozen together in a single moment.” The same thing happens with pictorial works; they are an accumulation of ideas that are presented together all at once, and which we have to link together according to our own judgment.
Elsewhere, incorporating newspapers that he himself produces in his studio also has to do with this line of exploration. If he were to use real newspapers, he would be tying the work to a specific time and place, which is precisely what Manders wants to avoid. Furthermore, he aims to incorporate all the words in English in these newspapers and for each word to appear only once, thereby detaching the piece even further from a concrete meaning.