Large plastic sheets of varying sizes lean against the wall, in bright, artificial colours: ‘Sheet Section (Saturation)’. As if pieces of surfboards, or possibly manufacturing waste products, have been abandoned there arbitrarily and temporarily. The red and orange colours of the sheets appear to have been stirred together or poured, creating the suggestion of marble. Standing and lying around the space are grey plaster casts of vessels − 'Heat Treatment' (2010) – that are normally used for the storage of oil and other raw materials. Now they are a whole, and utterly unusable. Hanging over them are plastic, bright blue mats, clearly from a gym. The combination of these shapes, the original function of which has been lost, creates an abstract sculpture, which enters into a playful collusion with the other shapes in the space, like the scaffolding-like construction on the back wall, which is in reality a support for an awning.

Magali Reus’s work assumes a minimalist form, in which she approaches today’s visual culture from a unique perspective. Through the interconnections with everyday objects she seems to be creating a sterile, inhuman reality; an idea of reality through which it reveals itself to us in a new way. This construction makes it clear that the everyday quality to which her work refers does not exist in isolation, but resonates with allusions and meaning.
The gallery space puts us in mind of a building site, full of containers, plastic, scaffolding, and sheets. But this harmonizes with the colour combinations and materials chosen by Magali Reus, as well as the forms that the works eventually assume. The associations evoked by the works intermingle and contradict each other. This incongruity is reinforced by the video work ‘Finish’ (2010), in which four men race against each other on the beach. In Reus’s approach, the men are presented in such an abstract and stylized way as to drain them of their humanity. Winning the race is apparently not the real purpose, and the result remains unclear. The colours, the setting and the movements appear more important than the narrative. The strength of Magali Reus’s work lies precisely in this combination of direct significance and the association of isolated elements.

Magali Reus (The Hague, 1981) lives and works in The Hague and London, where she graduated from Goldsmiths College in 2008.

[Laura van Grinsven]