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M+M | WARP AND WEFT

Munich Re Art Gallery | Until September 2022

The exhibition course begins with the current photo series tessuti. The photographs, which at first seem almost monochrome, show in detail thousands of close-ups, each with a wide variety, of a woven fabric with all its threads and partial patterns in a multifaceted and rhythmic color spectrum. The basis for this is a special photo collage technique by M+M which itself has certain parallels to the weaving of fabrics. Starting with a long camera pan over an original fabric, all recorded film stills are successively fanned out to form an overall picture, digitally interwoven row by row - almost like weaving with warp and weft.

M+M in conversation with Susanne Ehrenfried-Bergmann.

© M+M

The series tessuti was conceived during a stay of the artists at the Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani in 2017. Starting point are precious and individual fabric patterns, which are still produced today in the Venetian Tessitura Bevilacqua, a hand weaving mill unique in the world, still using traditional punch cards on old wooden looms. The selected and international clientele of these fascinating fabrics ranges from the White House to the Kremlin and the Vatican. But also pop icons like Mariah Carey are clients for the exquisite textiles of Bevilacqua. In M+M's artistic works, the lined up macro shots of these fabrics become oscillating motifs of a new magical, digital image carpet. 

The second photographic series kurz vor fünf also consists of continuous stills of films whose stories take place in different places at the same time: “shortly before five” in Central Europe.  In Europe it is the hour of slowly saying goodbye to the day, of moving smoothly into the night, into another world, with different colours, other events. In the USA on the other hand it is early in the morning, in Asia it is night.   

The basis for the photographic series is provided by short films, approximately three-minutes long, which the artists have produced since 2001 at various places around the world - whether in Berlin, Bornholm, Montreal, Munich, Princeton, New York or Taipei. It is somehow a synchronized cut through the lives of various people and each person is shown in his or her individual environment. M+M stage seemingly short episodes with actresses and actors - events that could have taken place at a specific location. The image sequences can be followed in extreme close-up detail, thus they merge - with increasing distance - into a largely abstract matrix, determined by the dominant colors of the respective set. Fiction becomes reality, the film becomes image, the image becomes pattern. As a reminiscence of the shooting, scenes are shown on two flatscreens mounted directly next to each other, appearing with a minimal time delay. The selected sequences are duplicated here like a shadowy echo of the past. The artists' deliberate decision to blacken some of the exhibition reminds the viewer of a cinema setting, thus heightening the typical form of presentation of film narratives.