Matti Braun was born to German and Finnish parents in Berlin in 1968. He studied art in Brunswick and Frankfurt. In 2009, he had his first major retrospective at the Kunstmuseum in Liechtenstein. A year later, he had a solo show at the Kunstverein in Brunswick.

Other personal shows have been put on at the Showroom in London, at the Arnolfini in Bristol, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York and at the Kunstverein in Freiburg. The artist lives and works in Cologne.

About the artworks

Poetic and sensuous, presented in distinctive ambiences, Matti Braun’s works encourage contemplation and meditation, while revealing a world in which cultural frontiers are subtle and permeable. 

To create his work, the artist uses different materials which evoke popular culture : wood, sand, silk, ceramics, glass, stone and fabric construct his protean world of pictures, photographs and installations. The work he makes reflects his interest in craftsmanship and its traditional techniques, which he emphasises in a globalised society that is increasingly replacing it with deceptive mechanical techniques. Braun’s art is rich in references to the East and to popular art, but never lapses into exotic clichés. His great subject is cultural exchange and the way, as a result of this process, objects can evolve, both in terms of their role (losing, for example, a religious or ritual function) and in their aesthetic. This metamorphosis is often due to misapprehension of the original meaning of the object in question.

The artist’s compositions are clear, simple, even minimalist. Meticulously put together, limiting their resources in order to be more effective, they go from very small to very big, with installations that fill the entire exhibition space. The artist loves to immerse visitors to his exhibitions in singular worlds. At the Kunstverein in Freiburg, he flooded the hall floor with water, immersing other spaces in ultraviolet light, while replacing the parquet with concrete or pouring sand on it.

Curious and erudite, Matti Braun presents a broad range of connotations, bringing into play geography, biology and culture. He also alludes to famous historical figures such as Léopold Sédar Senghor and Arno Breker. This dense, intense and rich network of quotations from multiple sources sets up a narrative articulated by the different works on display, making each exhibition an event.

The artworks

Collection of contemporary art