Thomas Mailaender: The Fun Archaeology

18 Apr - 26 May 2018

The Michael Hoppen Gallery is delighted to announce its first solo show with multimedia artist Thomas Mailaender. 


Thomas Mailaender (born 1979) is a French artist living and working between Paris and Marseille known for his use of a wide range of media and his experimentation with printing processes, fixing strange and humorous found imagery onto the surface of ceramics, photography and sculpture.  The resulting objects teem with curiosity and a sense of the eccentric, pairing traditional, historical techniques with today's prolific digital visual culture.  


The source of images used in Mailaender's work is the artist's Fun Archive, a collection of absurd, amateur photographs he started amassing from the internet in 2000.  Once applied to their intended surface or material, and removed from context, the resulting objects are transformed into monuments to contemporary culture.  Using humour as provocation, Mailaender's work raises questions not only about the role of the artist, but also about the absurdity of the everyday and the pretensions of the art world. 


For his show at the Michael Hoppen Gallery, Mailaender will be exhibiting a cross-section of works. From imagery printed on found ceramics and French lava stone from Volvic, using an extremely durable process created for photographs to be printed on gravestones, to his series Skin Memories in which he has developed techniques for printing on leather during a residency at LVMH Métiers d'Art, the exhibition will be extensive and take place over multiple floors of the space in Chelsea. Also on show for the first time will be a selection from the artist's personal collection of 'objets trouvés' The Fun Archeology. Continuing in the theme of his work, the Fun Archeology is a celebration of the eccentric and extreme - full of strange and wonderful objects, such as Algerian propaganda movies or minuscule souvenirs and an extensive photo book collection. A catalogue of the Fun Archaeology will be published by RVB books this Spring and will be launched during the exhibition. 


Thomas Mailaender's work is held in public collections worldwide such as the Musée National de l'histoire de l'Immigration, Paris, FNAC (Fond National d'Art Contemporain), Paris and MONA museum, Tasmania. He has exhibited widely in exhibitions such as Do Disturb (Palais de Tokyo in Paris, 2017), Iconoclasts: Art Out of the Mainstream (Saatchi gallery, London, 2017-8), Performing for the Camera (Tate Modern, 2016), Night Climbers of Cambridge (Festival Images in Vevey, Switzerland, 2014), From Here On (Rencontres d'Arles, 2011), Paris Photo, and will be exhibiting in the Back to the Future show at FOAM museum in Amsterdam in the coming year (19 January - 28 March 2018). Thomas' curatorial work includes Hara Kiri (Rencontres d'Arles 2016) and Photo Pleasure Palace with Erik Kessels (Unseen, Amsterdam, 2017). Numerous Artist books have been published about Mailaender's work and his Illustrated People (AMC/RVB books) was awarded PhotoBook of the Year in the 2015 edition of the Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards.