Between 18 February and 14 March 1998, the Alan Cristea Gallery will be exhibiting a cycle of woodcuts, some unique, some in small editions, collectively entitled Das Haus, by Matthias Mansen.
Although Mansen is still in his thirties, his work has been exhibited through Europe and America and is to be found in major museum collections throughout Europe, as well as in the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Das Haus is his most famous work, mundane in its subject matter, but epic in its scale and ambition. It consists of many individual and interlinked compositions, all made during a three year period in New York, in which Mansen explored every room in an archetypal house.
His success derives entirely from his prowess in the art of woodcutting. He is a complete rarity amongst contemporary artists, having built a reputation from a single and traditional, print medium. Woodcut thrives on the process of creation and by taking the house as his iconographic framework; Mansen has established a fabric of human existence. All the pictures in this cycle suggest a very private and domestic world, but one in which simple objects become symbols of a way of life.
Ultimately, Das Haus unites all the isolated working processes and isolated objects into a vast panorama which not only represent the whole 'house', but a whole way of life as well, in which a vast array of human emotions are expressed through the depiction of the mundane objects which circumscribe our everyday existence.
The exhibition is accompanied by a 112 page hard back catalogue, with over 90 colour illustrations and two separate texts by Joshua Smith and Ferdinand Ullrich. The book also has a cover in the form of an original woodcut by the artist made especially for this first exhibition of Das Haus in London.