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Lena Mai Merle
Lena Mai Merle, Crystal Meth, 2020, oil, windowcolour, spray paint on canvas, 60x50cm
Lena Mai Merle, Crystal Meth, 2020, oil, windowcolour, spray paint on canvas, 60x50cm
Lena Mai Merle

Lena Mai Merle's work captivates through the use of different media and art forms: It includes painting, drawing, sculpture, new forms of artistic expression, such as augmented reality, as well as performance. Despite the diverse artistic means, a very individual signature can be discerned. It is characterized by the play with shifts, with different real and virtual levels that overlap and interpenetrate, or by the fact that the paintings present their surfaces as thresholds or intersections.
The large-format painting "Mein Gesicht ein Pauschalist", for example, with its deep blue background in front of which various things seem to float, is reminiscent of a screen or a portal to another dimension. The floating objects - among them flower wreaths and faces - also refer to the currently popular face filter apps. An installation of punch pots - flea market finds arranged by the artist on the gallery floor and supplemented with her own small sculptures - can in turn be expanded into Augmented Reality with the help of a QR code.
The magical aspect, the narrative potential and the power of images, as media of our perception as well as carriers of information, are central themes in Lena Mai Merle's work, as are our multi-layered relationships to (art) objects. Her works are ambiguous, do not follow a straightforward structure, but very much link all the elements together, as for example in the painting "Not even with savoir faire will fate favour the pesterer", in which half of the sitter, surrounded by GIF-like symbols, disappears behind a curtain, much like the writing "Up Another Level", which is only half visible on the T-shirt the sitter is wearing under her open shirt.
The exhibition "'Animal Crossing' brings objects together in the image and in space, in different dimensions" (Birte Fritsch). The works represent a personal attempt to show that images and objects are always already in a larger context and that they put themselves in relation to other images and objects.
In Lena Mai Merle's work, the viewer is no longer (only) facing the artwork. Rather, her works aim to question the viewing subject, who is the one who gives the work its sense and creates its meaning in the first place. In accordance with a basic idea of the speculative realists, a recent object-oriented philosophical movement that no longer focuses on the subject-object relationship but on the ontology of objects, Lena Mai Merle works against the primacy of the recipient in her work and rather emphasizes the peculiar life of (art) objects themselves.

Curriculum vitae

*1993 in Wuppertal, DE/NZ
lives and works in Wuppertal, DE


  • 2018-2021 Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Klassen Rita McBride und Lena Newton, DE

  • 2018-2020 Master „Körper, Theorie und Poetik des Performativen“, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart, DE

  • August 2017-Januar 2018 Kunsthogskolen i Oslo, NO

  • 2014-2018 Bachelor Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg, Klassen Werner Büttner, Jochen Distelmeyer und Thilo Heinzmann

Awards, Grants and Projects

  • 2021 als Kurator tätig für BARRAT RÜSSELTORF präsentiert in Düsseldorf, DE

  • 2020 nominiert für HISCOX Kunstpreis, Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, Düsseldorf ist ARTig

  • 2016-2018 als Kurator tätig für Projekte in Kopenhagen, Schweden, Norwegen und Deutschland, im Rahmen von TONENTON, Galerie der HFBK und Galerie Speckstraße, Hamburg, DE

  • 2013 Gewinnerin der EigenARTig Förderung für Bildende Künste, Düsseldorf, DE

Solo and Two-Person Shows (selection)

2021 „Animal Crossing", Emde Gallery, Mainz, DE
2020 „Revenge is a Dish", Doppelausstellung mit Amalie Gabel, Loevens Hule Gallery, Oslo (online), NO
2019 „NORTH RHINE WESTFAILURE", Barrat Rüsseltorf, Düsseldorf, DE

Group Shows (selection)

2020 „raus project“, vol. 7, Hamburg, DE
„Conditions of a Necessity“, Performance with the MFA KTPP, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-Baden, DE
„Genius Loci 8: Interplay“, SETAREH Gallery, Düsseldorf, DE
„Master Pauper: Potent und Propper“, Theater Rampe, Stuttgart, DE
„raus project", vol. 1, Hamburg, DE
„CARRIER", Barrat Rüsseltorf, ON LINE, DE
2019 „YAYACLA (Robin Hood)“, Sommer des Wissens, Hamburg, DE
„Nacht der Museen Stuttgart“, KTPP im Diakonissenbunker, Stuttgart, DE
2018 „HISCOX Kunstpreis“, Galerie der HFBK, Hamburg, DE
„Massephase“, Sprink Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, DE
„FIN“ - by Los, nomadic(on)temporary, Hamburg, DE
„S.T.a.R. Flash“, ok.terrain, Hamburg, DE
„X Jahre Kunst in Hamburg" - für Benzene, Affenfaust Galerie, Hamburg, DE
2017 „Season End“, After School Special, Bergen, DE
„The Toilet Show“, KHIO WCs, Oslo, NO
„GIFC - LLC“, Rod Bianco, Oslo, NO
„ARTz IV“, Benzene, Hamburg, DE
„G20 – An Artistic Review of the G20 Summit“, Galerie Speckstraße, Hamburg, DE
Supermarket Art Fair, Stockholm, SE
„DIN A3/B4“, TONENTON Kopenhagen, DK
„H (o) l d______ #1“ Spedition Bremen, Bremen, DE
„We take no responsibility“, Kopenhagen, DK
2015 „Under Construction - Imag(in)ing Identity“ Frappant, Hamburg, DE
2013 „Düsseldorf ist ARTig“, Kunsthaus Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, DE
Gewinnerin der EigenARTig Förderung für bildende Künste, Düsseldorf mit Ausstellung zur Nacht der Museen, Düsseldorf, DE
Ausstellung am Kunsthaus Düsseldorf für Düsseldorf ist ARTig, DE
Selected Works

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