Mario Asef is an architect and conceptual artist based in Berlin. He studied architecture at the University of Architecture and Urban Development in Córdoba, Argentina (Dpl.), and art at Chelsea College for Art and Design in London, England, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Karlsruhe and at the Universität der Kunst (UdK) in Berlin, Germany, where he obtained a master’s degree. His work has been exhibited worldwide, most recently at Daegu Photo Biennale (South Korea), Quartier 21 (Museumsquartier, Vienna), Wild Palms (Düsseldorf), Silent Green (Berlin), Junge Kunst e.V. (Wolfsburg, Germany), Kasa Galerie (Istanbul), SSamzie Space (Seoul), The Drawing Hub (Berlin). Recent museum exhibitions include Hamburger Kunsthalle, Villa Merkel (Esslingen, Germany), Kunstlerhaus Bregenz (Austria), and the Akademie der Künste Berlin. Since 2014 he organizes exhibitions and lectures for Errant Sound, a project space dedicated to sound art in Berlin.
Mario Asef‘s projects deal with architectonic as well as sociopolitical questions and confront issues related to their spatial representability. His works are divided into three methodological categories: the field of language as a structurer of physical space, the field of history and writing about history as a construction of mediated reality from a post-colonial point of view, and the scientific field of transdisciplinary enquiry and exchange. His photographs, diagrams, videos, texts, and interventions in public space all deal with the legibility of normative orders that extend beyond purely grammatical micro-urban codes and which simultaneously integrate utopian and ideology-critical gestures. Mario Asef uses these normative orders to develop a methodology that combines causality with happenstance, pushing things into absurdity.
Starting from media such as language, sound and image, he tries to follow the path towards the creation of urban space as the physical environment of the Logos. It is here that landscape as an ideological construction appears together with concepts of nature and ecology, which cannot be observed without their social and political background. With this in mid Mario Asef has developed concurrent ways of working that are each linked to different media. His video works document a series of situations in public space that are to be viewed as successions of reflexive moments. Here, the social circumstances of the urbane normative order rather than the urbane normative order itself push the works into a terrain of unsual narratives. His drawings investigate linguistic constructions of reality in the form of sentences and diagrams. Referencing Lacan’s and Wittgenstein’s conceptions of reality, language is used as an instrument that determines the interdependency of subject-context, but which also makes the reconfiguring of this relationship possible. Mario Asef’s projects in public space portray the attempt to transform theoretical reflexions into a practicable form of an ideographical conception of a social economic system. In every case the interaction between public and artwork is fragile and controversial since the interdependency of subject and object is not definable in wholesale fashion. Such aspects underscore the irony that informs the artist’s overall body of work.
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