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Paul Mühlbauer

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Paul Mühlbauer

The main concept of his art is the human and life itself. To live free, lighthearted and self-determining is the goal that he wants to convey.

Playful, sometimes weightless, a little grotesque human figures are pictured in a comic style. Vibrant, pure colors, happiness, but only at first sight.

The thinly drawn, tall creatures are only mirrors held up by the artist, they reflect distorted pictures of ourself, of society and the life we live today. Our existence is without goal and phantasy, or we are seduced by false ideologies, or do not know anymore, how to live free.

And so we dive into the next layer of his pieces and find our true reality there - strange, sad, comical.

Aber wie der Künstler selbst sagt: „Mir ist es auch wichtig, die Zeit und die Themen zu kritisieren. Am besten kritisiert man, indem man darüber lacht“.

There are people in everyday life. On the streets, in the subway, or a scene from a TV program is played.

What does Mühlbauer’s art represent?

A women is walking with a dog leash with a hovering shark, but the shark is impatient and the woman is struggling to keep control over it. Is this scene a call to all of us to live our life with more fantasy?

And then there is cheeky „Lili“, who resembles Pippi Longstocking. The blond girl in a pink dress shows us her tongue and holds up her middle finger - all that in fron of the elementary school in Stegersbach. „Lili on holiday“ - that is the name of the sculpture and definitely provokes. Is her behaviour obscene and offensive or is she allowed to do that? She is a child and the artist is convinced, that children are allowed to be cheeky. Childhood is maybe the only moment in our lives in which we are allowed to be free and the dehumaniztion has not begun yet. The towns citizens have very different opinions. From „not nice“ to „amusing“, where „amusing“ has won with 51,89%. But most importantly: the children like it“.

In many of his pieces he deals with the topics love and intimacy. And again, with a twinkle in his eye, he satires human behaviour. Being „uptight“ and „withdrawn and shy“, things we strongly sense through countenance and body language of his sculptures, but also react with a grin to, he tries to fight with a small shock. He irritates, shocks, vulgarizes.

The exposed, naked bodies in clumsy positions, toed in, create sympathy. The kissing couple, which literally merge into each other, is a small hymn to love and erotic.

The world created by Mühlbauer consists of small (10-35cm) but also big (up to 5m) bronze sculptures, which are by hand coloured with vivid metal colors.

Some of them can be found in interaction with nature, some of them with the atelier.

His creation process is very special. For his models, from which the negative forms for the casting are created, he uses a mix of different materials: wood, iron, wax, plastic. Included in this mix are also „objet trouve“, ready-made objects from real life. The shark on the leash is an already existing toy, which now received its artistic, educating purpose.

„Why re-create when it already exists?“ are the artist’s words. The aspiration is not to copy the world, which in the eyes of Dadaists and Surrealists was repellent, but to create the a new reality, which is the core motto in modernism. To give objects an important role in the world of art and to levy them to be art has its history since Duchamps „Rad-Fahrrad“ (1913).

In the end, the artist irritates and misleads by making use of those materials. The many-colored casts highly look deceptively similar with the original. Light, even weightless. Only when trying to lift the sculptures, on will realize it is bronze.

Also the numerous sculptural representations of different creatures such as fish and a snail are used to celebrate life together with humanly  creatures.

My understanding of art is life itself and to live it self-determining. It that happens. It is art! - Paul Mühlbauer


Tatjana Mundig, art historian, Munich