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HIMACS: At the cutting edge of creativity for Lena Marie Emrich’s soft cruelties exhibition

HIMACS Solid Surface material, which is normally used in the field of architecture, plays a central role in Emrich’s most recent pieces.

Each year, dream destinations around the world, from Venice to Uluru by way of Barcelona and Dubrovnik, are literally invaded by visitors. These are clear cases of overtourism. And the number of places whose beauty attracts these travellers keeps rising, as a result of exposure to films, television series and social media influencers. Wanting to have everything they might possibly need: it has become the norm for tourists to go over the top in their packing for trips across the globe.

In soft cruelties, her latest show (in Berlin from 16 September to 11 November 2023), Lena Marie Emrich’s work revolves around the resulting construction of reality, fiction and speculation. She removes everyday objects and materials from their usual settings in order to manipulate, reproduce and/or aestheticise them. For these works of art, the artist chose to use an extraordinary medium: HIMACS. This Solid Surface material, which is normally used in the field of architecture, plays a central role in Emrich’s most recent pieces.
Emrich milled, sawed, engraved and sanded HIMACS Solid Surface for use in her art. Her creations bear witness to a unique coupling of technical precision with artistic inspiration. Amongst other works, the exhibition includes six reliefs that seem to have been sculpted directly in the stone, a Wishing Well series and a conversational furniture piece dubbed Menage a trois (Garden Eden).
These pieces in HIMACS make quite the impression with their simple colours and their flawless surfaces. Lena Marie Emrich opted to utilise multiple hues of HIMACS, both light and dark, from the Marmo Collection’s Aurora colour palette (Pavia, Aurora Cotton, Aurora Canyon and Aurora Angora), featuring natural marbling. She also incorporated the Beach Sand pattern from the Exteria Collection. Put together, all this endows the show with solemn elegance, whilst at the same time providing proof of the extraordinary versatility of HIMACS Solid Surface.
By pairing this material – which is typically used for practical purposes – with a new context that has its own cold, formal and yet poetic language, and with materials from diametrically opposed applications, Emrich has created a sort of “petrified world”, in which any ephemerality is eliminated, specifically for the Kunstverein. In this way, she delivers a strong illustration of the contrasts between fiction and reality, and shines a light on the potential conflict between personal pleasure and moral principles.

Location Kunstverein am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Linienstraße 40, 10119 Berlin, Germany
Architecture & Design Lena Marie Emrich
Material used HIMACS Pavia M603, HIMACS Aurora Cotton M615, HIMACS Aurora Canyon M705, HIMACS Aurora Angora M706, HIMACS Beach Sand G048 and HIMACS Sanremo M605
Photo Credit © Ludger Paffrath
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