121 x 121 x 12.5 cm
Mirror glass, glass, aluminum, wood
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Das Progressive Museum Basel
Christian Megert (born 1936 in Bern, Switzerland) attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Bern from 1952 to 1956 before he became an active member of the avant-garde circle associated with the Galerie 33 in Bern. From 1957 to 1960, he moved around a lot, living in Stockholm, Berlin, and Paris. Megert’s work was deeply influenced by his association with the ZERO artists Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, and Günther Uecker in the 1960s. In 1959/1960, Megert began experimenting with mirrors and combined mirror fragments into smaller objects at first. In 1961, he published his manifesto “ein neuer raum” (a new space) in which he stated: “I want to build a new space, a space without beginning or end, where everything is alive and encouraged to live, a space that is quiet and noisy, static and in flux at the same time.”
This idea found its expression in the form of a spectacular walk-in installation of a room covered completely in mirrors at the documenta IV in 1968. The wall object “Untitled” from the same year is a minimalist counterpart to the opulence of this installation. Reduced to a bare minimum of elements, “Untitled” consists of a single square mirror pane surrounded by a black aluminum surface in a wooden frame. The wooden frame not only visually distinguishes the work from the wall’s surface, it also directs our gaze toward the center of the picture and frames what is happening in the mirror. Regardless of whether we silently observe our surroundings in a new light within the work or face the mirror directly as a main figure in the image, the work prevails as a viable model of perception.
In the 1980s, Megert began applying this participatory principle, which he still relies on today, to highly polished granite stones as well as combinations of mirrors and colors. He also focused on dialogue as a key theme during the many years he was Professor for the Integration of Visual Art and Architecture at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and also in his designs for urban environments. In all of that he does, Megert’s conviction that visual art is relevant for society is always emphatically clear.