The sculpture A Monument for the Common by the artist Simon Mullan, will be erect in the courtyard of ABC, Berlin 2016 during the duration of the fair. The tiles in the monument are used by Mullan as his paint to a canvas. The process of putting the tiles in order might look like it was carefully planned well ahead, but it comes together rather intuitively. A single tile is his starting point, he cuts it and continues to set the tiles one by one after the first tile is placed. He takes pride in using every single piece that he cuts up, so the process is a strenuous one. The single first cut is a small gesture that no tile-maker would do, but the gesture is powerful enough to change the result so much that it creates a harmonious disharmony that functions like glue to eyes. The result is thus, slightly random, and also abstract. However, even if there is a certain amount of chance involved in the process, Mullan has enough craftsmanship in his skill-set to be able to get the finished outcome he wants. The Monument for the Common is the perfect setting for a meeting-point to gather by and loiter a while.
The nearly four meters tall tiled monolith surely brings to mind a lot of different imagery and connotations. Judging from the looks of it, it might make you think about either an inverted butcher’s room or a bathhouse. Either way, it is a space we know as common. The title also makes us think about what, or who, that might entail really? These are the spaces and places we own together and co-exist in, the spaces that also seem to be disappearing in a more private, corporate realm that current times demand. The commonplace, where we gather to meet, think and perhaps even exchange words or ideas is becoming more scarce but also more invisible. Just how the “common people” are invisible. Like the dudes in the parking lot, the ones hanging around there all day and half night, drinking red bull, smoking, and occasionally spitting here and there? These fellas are so common that they sort of blend right into their environment and go unnoticed. These spaces and places would be at least some of the contingents of the common that artist Mullan has in mind.
Text: Power Ekroth
Image courtesy : Dittrich&Schlechtriem, Photo by : Jens Ziehe 2016