For over three decades, the New Zealand-born artist Michael Stevenson, who lives and works in Berlin, has developed a practice that is at once research based and materially dedicated. His artworks operate at the confluence of economics, technology, belief, and the infrastructural systems that enable them. Known primarily for his large-scale art installations and ambitious sculptures, he has done so through numerous collaborations with scholars and engineers, as well as with individuals whose oral histories have yet to be widely communicated. Stevenson’s practice may draw conceptual threads connecting the Middle East to Central America, or an experimental learning environment in California with a community practice in Nuremberg or Geneva, where the artist works as an art professor. Creating artworks that have, over the years, dealt with a distinct range of infrastructural or macro-systems––from economic theories and pedagogical models to belief systems and the figures of higher beings––Stevenson’s artistic perspective suggests a geography that is unbounded. Yet at the same time, central to each project is an ethnographic bent for the micro-narratives and worlds that are decidedly discontinuous. The voices of the characters which he implicates or figures in his works are adherents, but are also skeptical and vulnerable both to ideas and to the consequences of proof versus belief.

This exhibition presents a first for Stevenson, comprising a selection of works drawn from key projects developed over the past decade, as well as new work. In the absence of their original assemblies of past art installations, the artist regards their parts and re-assemblage as if emerging from a “boneyard” of sorts. Akin to an aviation boneyard, this alludes to a storage area for furloughed parts and materials that may come to be reused and repurposed over time. A fitting analogy, considering it is sites of this particular kind that have long-inspired Stevenson’s work. For this exhibition, each of the artworks have come to be thought anew along new lines of inquiry. Together, they manifest rationalized ideas as much as emotional binds that people have with education, theology, and technology.

This exhibition is co-presented by KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, where a larger iteration of the exhibition will be staged in 2021.

This is the artist’s first exhibition in the Netherlands.

—Supported by

AMMODO, Henry Moore Foundation, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, the artist’s fee is supported by the Mondriaan Fund (from the Experimental Regulations)