Biography of Ulrike Müller
Ulrike Müller’s beguilingly simple geometric compositions mask the complexity of the artist’s feminist mission. Through an intimate exploration of the association between color and shape, Ulrike Müller’s paintings examine the relationship between abstraction and the body. The shapes in her works are never purely abstract, but rather carry erotic and sexual associations to investigate questions of identity politics and criticize existing gender binaries. Ulrike Müller’s work is not limited to brush and canvas and she often uses techniques of performance, sculpture, video, audio and textiles.
Through a feminist lens, Ulrike Müller attempts to revise outdated ideas of representation using visual strategies employed in the 1960s and 70s by feminist and genderqueer groups. Her precise geometries focus on the interactions between shapes. Her circles are depicted penetrating or collapsing into another in a sexually intended manner. Through abstraction, the artist resists assigning binary or gender-based labels and hence breaks down existing visual and linguistic systems. Ulrike Müller’s use of the body is inclusive, not gendered and not binary, creating new options for visual representation that includes feminist and queer concerns.
Ulrike Müller was born in Austria in 1971. She studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna before attending both the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the PS1 Studio Program. She represented Austria at the Cairo Biennale in 2011. She is also a member of New York-based feminist genderqueer group LTTR and works hard to give minority artists agency in the hope of breaking the rules of patriarchy.
Ulrike Müller’s most iconic work is Raw/Cooked which was shown at the Brooklyn Museum in 2012. Inspired in part by Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, Raw/Cooked was a collaborative drawing project based on the T-shirt collection at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. Ulrike Müller has also had solo exhibitions at Callicoon Fine Arts in New York, mumok - Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation and Kunstraum Lakeside, which are both in Austria. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at PS1, the Whitney Biennial and Pace Gallery, all in New York.