Magali Reus - Settings (Antennae) (2019) / Settings (Swallows) (2019) / Settings (Pass)
When you visit exhibitions of work by the Dutch artist Magali Reus (b. 1981), an intensive process takes place between the eyes and the brain. At first glance, you think that, somewhere in the middle of the abstract structures in the space, you can recognize a completely normal object. This can be a trivial everyday item, such as a folding chair, a hat, a refrigerator, saucepans or a clothes hanger. Sometimes it is a somewhat less common but still universally recognizable object, such as a horse saddle. However, a second look disrupts those everyday associations, as the format, the material, the texture or the form does not meet expectations. The third step in the process is the dawning realization that these objects are entirely artificial. Every object and every detail of every object was produced by the artist. There are no bought or found objects involved; nothing is what you thought it was.
Reus makes her objects extremely carefully, with the help of a combination of technological and traditional procedures such as complex casting and weaving techniques, alternating between the speed of machine production and slow, meticulous manual work. Her sculptural forms, often made in series, are characterized by their many details, repetitions and accumulations of visual elements and forms borrowed from the domestic sphere. And also from architecture and industrial design. From the functional and the decorative. As a starting point, Reus generally employs objects that people take for granted and use on a daily basis, and which in one way or another have a relationship with humans, their actions and their bodies, but which go almost unnoticed.
For DELIRIOUS, Reus made three laser-cut plates out of steel, aluminium and resin. With their round shape and colourful adornment, they are reminiscent of road signs, but in every other respect they confound our expectations: they are blurred, hang on a wall, a tree and stand in a pond in a park, and are decorated in an extremely alienating way. Reus’s manipulated version of the world is like a subtly distorted reality.