Michael Riedel

Michael Riedel (born 1972 in Rüsselsheim, Germany) realized an early series of works in 1994/95 that comprises more than 1,000 sheets of paper. This series, titled “Signetische Zeichnung”, would go on to define Riedel’s overall body of work. The starting point is the first letter of his first name, M, which he stylizes into a decorative signet using a stamp and gold paint. He shifts the axes of the original form, rotates it, stretches, and compresses it, creating constructive and elaborate permutations on individual sheets of paper, some of which he covers in wax and binds in wax books together with blank sheets of paper, awaiting new ideas. This bold early series, with its potential to be continued indefinitely and its playing with the idea of a self-perpetuating system, represents an approach for which Riedel has since become well-known.
Riedel studied art in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, and Paris from 1994 to 2000 and became professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig in 2017. His art focuses on material advertising and mediating art – posters, invitation cards, exhibition catalogs, and art magazines – to which he applies strategies of appropriation, transmission, and repetition. By manipulating these materials according to certain principles and undermining their function in a way inherent to the system of art, new branches emerge within a self-referential structure that always includes already existing works as well as potential works that may be realized later.
The work “Ohne Titel (fünf eins sechs sieben neun elf zwei)” from 2014 also appears to have undergone a dense and open-ended production process. It consists of a set of 14 posters that can be reproduced as often as desired. The set is presented either as a site-specific floor or wall piece. The posters display the complete printed transcript of conversations people had while installing his exhibition in the Vienna Secession in 2003. In this exhibition, Riedel reconstructed the famous Oskar-von-Miller Strasse 16, an art space he co-founded in Frankfurt in 2000. While, in principle, the transcripts printed on the posters could be read as instructions for reconstructing the art space, Riedel highlights the measurements, for example, by spelling them out (like in the title of the work), also increasing the size of the writing. Riedel’s art production thus seems less concerned with readability than with text as an artistic material.

Eliza Lips
12.7.1972, Rüsselsheim
Works by Michael Riedel