Jonathan Muecke

Opening: Saturday, Sep 18, 2021 11 am – 6 pm
Saturday, Sep 18 – Oct 30, 2021

1709 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Volume Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new objects by Jonathan Muecke. 

Free from any of the traditional obligations of functionality common to most design practices, Jonathan Muecke is interested in making unfamiliar and unknowable objects. Each piece deflects understanding, remaining open to ongoing interpretation. Attempting to go beyond design, idiosyncratic formal choices allow the user to think outside of familiar notions of use. 

Muecke’s elegant forms are hyper-specific in scale and material. Meticulously articulated, his projects subvert standards of scale and investigate notions of positive and negative space. Making liminal objects which often play with being too high or too low, too big or too small, Muecke draws from the concept of measurement and the scale of the human body. Each project is typically made from one material, allowing the freedom to explore scale, shape, and quality. Muecke favors raw materials which he then transforms and interprets in his own way. He is interested in finding the limits of objects and reducing any details to the extreme. His process involves rigorous thought, labor, and time.

This exhibition highlights Muecke’s interest in introducing new forms to our collective visual vocabulary, finding shapes without precedent, and adding to our accumulated knowledge of design and objects. These new projects seek ways for the unknown to remain in the object, they hold contradictions and strive to exist beyond established categories.

“Through an incredibly focused and concise body of work produced over more than a decade, the epistemological question on the relation between art and design seems to be an obsession Jonathan Muecke obstinately wrestles with. Muecke’s work is often suspended between opposites, occupying the terrain between stasis and movement, foreground and background, known and unknown, the physical and the psychological. But rather than finding a static equilibrium, or a common denominator between the opposites, his work is always in constant motion, dynamically embracing the tension between opposites, oscillating between extremes. The result of this dynamism is a strangeness that is always present in his objects. Even though they may appear to be simple and singular at first glance, the richness unfolds slowly. They are always enigmatic, bearing both foreign and familiar characteristics, possessing something mysterious in an out-of-this-world way while being grounded at the same time. Muecke denies the categorical while confronting, in a seemingly deadpan way, such barriers within his own design.” 

– Architect and Chair of the Department of Architecture and Professor in Practice at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Mark Lee