For her first exhibition at Weserhalle, Alexandra Müller (b. 1988, Rostock, Germany) presents OK COOL, a new body of work featuring a selection of vibrant multi-media wall hangings and knitted sculptures. Sitting somewhere between two- and three- dimensional art, OK COOL draws together Müller’s work as an illustrator with her interest in fibre arts and sculpture, developing her practice to include the craft skills taught to her by her grandmother, and which are often exempt from the world of fine art.
In this series, Müller concerns herself with the overlooked and undervalued. Unusual faces, unconventional materials, bizarre circumstances, and obsolete technologies make up the conceptual elements of her artistic practice. In particular, this is expressed as a motley crew of woollen heads, knitted from remnants of Müller’s personal projects, and which are positioned around the gallery in a show of exaggerated and unseemly human features. Each face is equally alluring and grotesque, both disturbing and relatable. Bulging eyes, elongated noses, lolling tongues, and twisted, grimacing mouths are softened by kaleidoscopic colours and Müller’s choice of materials: a mixture of felt, wool, and beads. The heads surround a knitted television (“Telly”), and a set of outdated remote controls, similarly reproduced in soft yarns and felts. One remote control reads “I don’t understand” in Russian across its buttons, another reads “DESTROY”. The uselessness of the technology, arbitrarily joined by wires and seemingly attached to nothing, creates space for speculation about their possible functions—what, exactly, can be controlled with a remote control?—and yet reduces them to trivial and ineffectual gadgets.
In sum, OK COOL is a delightfully frightening funhouse. Each pockmarked, germ-dripping face reveals an ambivalence between ugliness and beauty, while each woollen gadget acknowledges the absurdity of a world increasingly reliant on complex technologies. The cleverness of the exhibition rests in Müller’s skilful combination of the absurd, the melancholic, and the humorous, with humour working as a catalyst for understanding the intricacies of the human experience, giving a perspective on humanity that is at once lighthearted and sincere.