Born in 1965, Dieter Mammel studied graphic art and painting. He lives in Berlin where he works as a painter and a teacher of art history. Since 2001, his artistic interest has focused on another story: the story of his family. Within this focus he has created a substantial number of works in ink and watercolour which are interesting on two levels. On one, Mammel has proven that he is an artist with self-assurance and a great expressive intensity and, on the other, his work deals with the theme of the family, expounded within images which are almost archetypal. In this way, his "memory representations" are not simply presented as personal reminiscences, but standard visual aspects of a stage-set family community, familiar to us all.
In the series Family Works, Dieter Mammel, guided by Mnemosyne, the goddess of remembrance, lets the watercolour or the ink run freely over the surface until, as it dries it forms that human image that reminds us all of stages in our lives. The result is a record of internal images that have materialised onto over a hundred art works, some of them large scale. This entire body of work recently exhibited in the Bonn Museum of art, presents moments of family affection, enjoyment and unity, which could easily become cute or corny were it not for their universal impact, and dynamic and truly interesting technical and thematic execution, thereby retaining their substance and meaning.
Dieter Mammel's aim is not simply to record family moments and events but rather their expressive and archetypal effect on not only himself but on everyone who confronts his work. His basic concern is to present the bonds and relationships between the different generations that co-exist within the family. Babies, infants and children
dominate as well as their meaningful and affectionate relationships with the older members of the family. Aside from his own family history, Dieter Mammel narrates stories familiar to us all, providing the opportunity for reminiscence and reflection on the importance of small but hugely significant moments that we all have within us but we recall them with less frequency than we should.
Dieter Mammel's technique creates an atmospheric effect monochrome in its entirety, reminding us of faded timeworn photographs which in turn also make up the picture of our family past as much in reality as in the family album. Although the general feeling engendered through this body of work is one of optimism, there is an underlying melancholy, a sense of loss which accompanies everyone's childhood memories, fuelled by the realisation of the cruel passage of time and the inevitable continuity of life.
In the accompanying catalogue to the exhibition, Christoph Schreier refers to the wider impression of Dieter Mammel's works: "Within each one of us, there slumbers hoarded memories which have become substantial images, apparently invulnerable to the daily torrent of other images which the media project."
The exhibition Family Works is organised by the Goethe-Institut in collaboration with the Athens Municipal Gallery. The curator of the exhibition in Athens is Nelly Kyriazi, director of the Athens Municipal Gallery and Museums. The opening of the exhibition will take place on October 20th 2005 in the presence of the artist and Dr. Christoph Schreier, curator of Mammel's exhibition
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in Bonn and co-director of the Bonn Museum of Art.
Dieter Mammel - Family Works
Athens Municipal Gallery, Pireos 51,
Exhibition: 20/10/2005 - 20/11/2005
By Klio Panourgias