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2022 edition
Parc des Chantiers / HAB Galerie
Plonger et Puiser
Michael Beutler

Engaging with a space to reveal its dimensional, constructive, historical, social and poetic properties is the role that Michael Beutler’s works primarily play, which are often made of paper, cardboard, and textile. Like an experienced handyman and inspired inventor, he develops tools and machines ­– ones involving traditional or contemporary techniques – that differ with respect to their materials, simplicity and mode of manual operation.

With these new machines, he produces lightweight, modular forms that he reassembles as large and fragile one can walk through.

The artist’s various trips to Nantes were marked by his experience of the space around the Hangar à Bananes, its relationship to the river, and to past port activities. For HAB Galerie, Beutler interacted with this concrete structure by creating a monumental paper mill, the likes of which have never seen inside this space before. 

Using wind power, the mill extends outside the gallery through one of its large skylights, activating a set of machines inside capable of producing all the stages of paper production: pulping wood, dunking frames, pulling, pressing, and drying.

From this ingenious and sculptural assembly line, manually activated by a team of students from Nantes’ art and architecture schools, gigantic sheets are produced. Their shape and grammage give them structural properties allowing for a fragile, open, labyrinthine, and autonomous installation to be created.

This mill is an active and versatile factory that is both human and joyful, reminding us of those past days when sailors would unload goods arriving by ship from the other end of the world. 

Michael Beutler was born in 1967 in Oldenburg (Germany). He lives and works in Berlin. He is represented by: Nagel Draxler Gallery (Berlin), Bärbel Grässlin Gallery (Frankfurt am Main, Germany) Heinrich Ehrhardt Gallery (Madrid), Pinksummer (Genoa, Italy)

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The HAB Galerie bookstore-gift shop is open during exhibition hours. The exhibition catalogue published by 303 is available here.