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Exhibition Review

Making sense of the missing chapter: Michael Müller's three-decade diary in three parts

Sanghee Kim

Jan 24, 2022

Magnetischer Hügel (auf dem Weg nach Alchi aus Richtung Changspa anreisend) 34°10'16.0"N 77°21'13.8"E, 2021 (from the Im Garten des Chán (West-östliche Bewegung series)
Acrylic and lacquer on Belgian linen
196 x 356 x 4.5 cm (77.2 x 140.2 x 1.8 in.)
Courtesy the artist and Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong 



Three Biographical Attempts is a three-chapter solo exhibition series by Michael Müller at Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong. The series is a presentation of Müller’s personal diary from the past thirty years. The first chapter titled Chapter I. Structure - Feeling and Accuracy, was on view at the gallery between September 15 and November 6, 2021, in which the artist unveiled his journey of self-discovery and embraces change through self-creation by re-visiting a trip he made in the 1990s to the Himalayas, in the west of Tibet.


The journey was highly personal as it was also an opportunity for Müller to get in touch with his Indian roots. During his time away, he spent a year in the Alchi Monastery in Ladakh and went on a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash. These experiences have heavily influenced the first chapter of the series; the memories of Himalayas are shown through in series such as Im Garten des Chán (West-östliche Bewegung), where the color palette of brown, green and gray is from the time in Ladakh. 


Müller was especially taken aback by the clouds; the way they transformed in colors and shapes naturally made him think about how our minds also shift, going through different emotions and realities. Coming to the question “How do we make sense in this fluid state?”, Müller presents Chapter II. The Cloud Surveyor, the second chapter of the exhibition series. 



Der Sinn des Wolkenvermessens (Working Title: Wolkenatlas) für Jean-Luc Nancy, 2007/2014/2021
Pencil, ink, ballpoint pen, textmarker, acrylic paint, gesso and waterbased silkscreen print ink on different papers and plexiglas
81-part work: 175 x 1013 cm (68.9 x 398.8 in.) 
Courtesy the artist and Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong 



The star of the exhibition is Der Sinn des Wolkenvermessens (Working Title: Wolkenatlas) für Jean-Luc Nancy [en: The Sense of Measuring Clouds (Working Title: Cloud Atlas) for Jean-Luc Nancy], 2007/2014/2021. The mixed media piece with pencil, ink, acrylic paint, various types of paper, and many other materials, the artwork was created over a period of 14 years. Images on the work include atomic bombs and abstract drawings that look like clouds, and as a whole the 81-part work with the width over 10 meters look like a diary showing parts of the artist’s memories. 


Another notable piece from Chapter II. The Cloud Surveyor is Fucking Prain (Miss Spelling), 2021, which continues to question how we make sense of the world by exploring further the past memories of Müller; his older works were photographed and altered then painted over, creating layers of different timelines to the work. As seen in the gallery, the original work underneath the thick layers are not able to be seen by the viewers, as the new work becomes the original piece. 


Now leaves the third and the final chapter of the exhibition series, Chapter IV. Self-Creation, which will be on view from February 2022. As hinted in the title, it skips a chapter and it is unclear whether the missing chapter will be revisited or eliminated altogether. Life doesn’t always work out in an order as planned; or perhaps it refers to the continuous question around memory making and the ever shifting perspectives of the self depending on the chapter you are in at a particular moment. 



Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong, presents German artist Michael Müller’s three-chapter solo exhibition series Drei biographische Versuche [en: Three Biographical Attempts]  from September 2021 to March 2022.