Sali Muller’s Conceptualism flirts with Environmental Art

Throughout her career, Sali Muller has made explorations into the realm of the conceptual art world encompassing installations, light and ready-made objects. Given her artistic practice and its relationship to human nature, Muller addresses contemporary social matters, such as pollution, loss of identity or natural disasters and the vanity of the excessive consumerism, via a methodology characterised by cynicism and unconventional thinking.
Muller (b.1981) is a Luxembourg-based artist who has studied visual arts at the university of Marc Bloch in France and completed her studies in history of arts at the university of Trier in Germany. Muller’s work has been exhibited internationally, while she has also recently won the Incubarte Award at the 7 International Art Festival in Valencia, Spain and in 2013 the Young Artist Award at the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Luxembourg.
Previous concepts in Muller’s work, which are frequently based on collections of materials and ideas, create a dynamic sense of comparison and contradiction through more unusual creative shapes and formats. For instance, displaying an artistically pleasing site-specific installation, On the Brink (2015), at the Bradtke gallery in Luxembourg, Muller stresses the importance of the human alienation and depression. The whole display is covered by newspapers creating an ironically stylized suffocated ambient in which the reality unveils dramatic situations around the world.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
On the Brink, newspapers, objects, 2015, Image courtesy of Sali Muller
At another level, a stimulating mixture of conceptual as well as environmental art forms signifies Muller’s work which apparently seeks to demonstrate the disconnect of humanity from the environment. Furthermore, Muller highlights how the lack of connection with the natural resources and their misuse can cause harmful consequences to nature. The principals of eco-realism identify her artistic practice in which she openly exposes the terror or inequity of the human pollution and environmental disaster. In this regard, in her recent art project I am Running and Consuming Energy for Nothing (2016) which was part of the group exhibition at Kunsthaus Baselland in Basel, Switzerland, Muller obviously contemplates the impact of the human activity against nature and particularly “the irresponsible energy use of an inexorable hypocritical society” as she mentions herself.
Ecriture Sans Fin, I am Running & Consuming Energy for Nothing, LED Ticker 200 x 30 cm, 2016 , Image courtesy of Sali Muller
Muller’s work is here to contribute to raising people’s awareness about environmental protection and sustainability. Perhaps, she is one of these emerging artists who reject the idea that art should be only beautiful and consumable; instead, she’s here to point out our responsibility either towards to ourselves or to nature.
In her interview with ArtVerge, Muller provides more information about the artistic practice as well as other random personal details around her daily life.
ArtVerge: Can you tell us about the process of doing your work?
Suli Muller: My work always explores issues of environmental pollution, loss of identity, loss of interpersonal communication and consumerist culture, by mixing different media and placing the materiality of the work in sharp contrast with its subject.
The Moment in Time, Stacked Venetian Blinds, 2016, image courtesy of Sali Muller
How would you define your work in a few words?
My work evolves around conceptual approaches to reflecting surfaces, ready-made, video, light and sound installations.
Do you have a favourite book, film or painting which inspires you?
Once upon a time there was a book that I used to read every day, The Little Witch by Otfried Preussler. And it still inspires me today, because it reminds me of my actual situation as an artist. Like her, you always have to pull off some seriously good stuff if you want to be recognized. At the end, she will have proved that she is the biggest and best witch of all.
Network, Patch Panels, Network Cables, Installation View at Zidoun-Bossuyt Galery, 2016
Network, Patch Panels, Network Cables, Installation View at Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery, 2016
Do you have a favourite artist?
When I saw Troika’s work ‘Dark Matter’ at Unlimited, Art Basel, I was really impressed by how they manipulated our perception while turning around the artwork. This experience paved my way for future projects where I tried to place the viewers in a confrontational relationship with themselves, raising questions on their own perception of self while blurring the boundaries between subject and subjectivity.
What are your plans for the near future?
Among my ongoing projects, I am preparing several upcoming exhibitions, including a solo project at the IKOB Museum of Contemporary Art Eupen in July 2017.
Which exhibition did you last visit?
I’m currently taking part in an exhibition at the Kunsthaus Baselland in Basel, Switzerland. So this was the last exhibition that I have visited.
What is your favorite time of the day?
When I go to bed and there are thunder and lightning and when I can hear raindrops falling on the roof.
Distortion, Sound-Installation, 2400 Bullets, Mirrors, Speakers, 200x300x250cm, 2015
Distortion, Sound-Installation, 2400 Bullets, Mirrors, Speakers, 200x300x250cm, 2015


What was the last thing you bought?
The last thing I bought was wood to build my new stock for my artworks in my studio.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’m definitely a night owl, I go to bed very late at night because for me it is the best time to think about new ideas for my artistic projects. I hate getting up in the morning.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I’m currently based in Luxembourg, a very small country in the middle of Europe. Luxembourg is a very nice place for living, all my friends and family are here, and so I’d rather stay than move anywhere else.

The Imperceptible Self, Mirror, 2016
Face A Face 2016 Mirrors, 45x180x80cm
I See You Looking Back at Me, 2016
Green Energy, Glass, Neon Tube, 178 x 22 cm, 2014
Sponge Battle,Blackboard, Chalk, Bucket, Water, Sponge, 200 x 200 x 300 cm, 2014
Images courtesy of Sali Muller


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