Mario Asef studied architecture and art in Argentina, Germany, and England. His work has been exhibited worldwide, most recently at Quartier 21 (Vienna), Kühlhaus Berin (Berlin), Junge Kunst e.V. (Wolfsburg, Germany), Kasa Galerie (Istanbul), Abandoned Gallery (Malmö, Sweden) SSamzie Space (Seoul), Nouvel Organon (Paris). Recent museum exhibitions include Hamburger Kunsthalle, Villa Merkel, Kunstlerhaus Bregenz (Austria), and the Akademie der Künste Berlin. His videos, photographs, sound installations, and interventions in public space deal with architectonic as well as sociopolitical questions and confront issues related to their spatial representability. With a detached sense of irony they seek to make legible the “immaterial, invisible” architecture of the social sphere.
Mario Asef’s artistic works develop—as he himself states—out of “the illusory construction of social reality.” Mario Asef’s works are divided into three thematic categories: the realm of public space, the construction of which is language-based, the realm of history and writing about history as mediated reality construct, and the realm of scientific methods. His photographs, diagrams, videos, texts, and interventions in public space all deal with the legibility of normative orders that extend beyond purely grammatical micro-urban codes and which simultaneously integrate utopian and ideology-critical gestures. Mario Asef uses these normative orders to develop a methodology that combines causality with happenstance, pushing things into absurdity.
Mario Asef has developed concurrent ways of working that are each linked to different media. His Empirien (Empiricisms) document a series of interventions in public space that are to be viewed as successions of reflexive elements. Here, the social circumstances of the urbane normative order rather than the urbane normative order itself push the works into a terrain of unsual narratives. This is also the case with his video series History is Now and his photographic series Social Sculptures. His Statements and Beschreibungen (Descriptions) investigate linguistic constructions of reality in the form of sentences and diagrams. Referencing Lacan’s and Wittgenstein’s conceptions of reality, language is used as an instrument that determines the interdependency of subject-context, but which also makes the reconfiguring of this relationship possible. Mario Asef’s Raumprothesen (Spatial Prosthetics) portray the attempt to transform the classical function of the architectural model into an ideographical conception of space, which, in turn, describes architecture as a social economic system. In every case the interaction between public and artwork is fragile and controversial since the interdependency of subject and object is not definable in wholesale fashion. Such aspects underscore the irony that informs the artist’s overall body of work.