Martin Mannig. Double Bottom Varieté: Audition

The exhibition is based on Martin Mannig’s interpretations of the concept of Varieté. Here, special consideration is given to audience, the audition within the framework of a selection castings. Possible protagonists of a Martin Mannig Varieté are presented in turn in the exhibition. Individually side by side with their peculiarities, they appeared on stage. We the “Auditorium” come here and are excited about the stories they will tell us.

Towards the end of the 18th century, the Varieté emerged as an extremely unconventional form of theatre in England and experienced its first great heyday in France around 1820. The Varieté offered a mosaic-like, constantly changing programme with artistic, musical, dancing and acrobatic performances, which were often cheeky to frivolous, above all ambiguous (Double Bottom).
Martin Mannig’s understanding interprets the special and closely connected idea of a system and place, where different figures and stories can form. In a loose combination of extremely contrasting positions, a changing image program of various actors and situation stories is created. This corresponds to the process-oriented, thoroughly unconventional way the artist works. His vaudeville staff also derives from the many forms of amusing, bizarrely comical to uncanny entertainment culture in order to ultimately maintain his appearance in ambiguous quotations in the pictures. It is up to the viewer to devote himself to the play of figures, signs and meanings, to recognize or interpret stories in them.

Double Bottom Varieté: Audition is a typical Mannig fusion as painterly theatre. From this world of the romantic, of tragedy and comedy, of the absurd and the fantastic, Martin Mannig points to our social universe full of parallel worlds and diverse worldviews: rich in inversions, subversions, ambiguities and valuations.

Selected drawings can be seen in the small room. These are exemplary for the working process on the figures, in a sense for the casting of the variety show. Martin Mannig typically begins with the drawing or its selection from his motif system, an order that has been one of the most important pillars of his work for more than 15 years. From the undirected exploration of motifs and figures, he creates a first so-called filing system of set pieces, which are further developed in a second step. At this point the collaboration with the seamstress Sarah Schäfer begins. A cooperation that has developed into an intensive production of textile paintings over the past two years. The painted canvases and canvas fragments are sewn, trimmed, extracted again and painted in several steps to become a hybrid variation. These hybrids of free figure assemblages join like an abstract pictorial structure to form the ambivalent vaudeville staff: the audition begins.