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Mark Manders

Mark Manders’ artistic practice departs from the idea that his work is one endless and ever-expanding self-portrait. Since 1986, Manders has dedicated himself to the ongoing project entitled Self-Portrait as a Building. This distinctive and ambitious body of work encompasses sculptures, installations, publications, drawings, and architectural plans, all contributing to the creation of a fictional architectural self-portrait. The ‘building’ he references is an ideal construct: a notional structure, akin to a body, in which to assemble and arrange these varied facets of his oeuvre and personal identity. This perpetual assembly of varied elements continuously challenges the coherence of the ever-expanding self-portrait.

The beginning of Self-Portrait as a Building was rooted in language as Manders initially explored writing as the medium to develop his own narrative in an autobiographical manner. He later began experimenting beyond language by incorporating everyday objects as vehicles for expression, thereby shifting his attention to the structure of meaning itself. Objects – ranging from invented forms to everyday items – became his new vocabulary and grammar. Manders employs meticulous craftsmanship in carefully rearranging and recreating architectural motifs, such as chimneys and walls, alongside objects reduced to 88%, including tables, chairs, and vessels. His timeless and distinctly non-linear body of work deliberately distorts reality, challenging any straightforward, chronological understanding of his oeuvre.

Mark Manders (b. 1968, Volkel, the Netherlands) lives and works in Ronse, Belgium. Mark Manders represented the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale in 2013. He was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to create a large public sculpture for the Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park, New York in 2019. Other large-scale outdoor sculptural installations are on display at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at the Rokin Square in Amsterdam. Public collections include The Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Carnegie Museum of Art, PA; Kunsthaus Zürich; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, LA; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Walker Art Center, MN, among others.

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Selected Images

  • Field Fragment, 2022

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  • Composition with Blue, 2019-2022

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  • Cloud Study (with All Existing Words), 2005-2022

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  • Tilted Head
    Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, New York, NY, USA, 2019

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  • Composition with Four Yellow Verticals, 2017–2019

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  • September Room
    Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA, 2018

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  • Dry Clay Figure, 2012–2014

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  • Unfired Clay Head, 2011-2014

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  • Room with Broken Sentence
    Dutch Pavillion, 55th Venice Biennale, 2013

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  • Parallel Occurrences / Documented Assignments
    Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO, USA, 2011

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  • Shadow Study, 2010

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  • Life-size Scene with Revealed Figure, 2009

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  • – (– / – / – / –), 2008

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  • Unfired Clay Figure, 2005-2006

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  • Notional Cupboard, 1989–2003

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  • Documenta XI
    Binding-Brauerei, Kassel, 2002

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  • Silent Factory, 2000

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  • Fox / Mouse / Belt, 1992-1993

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  • Inhabited for a Survey (First Floor Plan from Self-Portrait as a Building), 1986

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Publications

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