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With the group exhibition Mármakos (the Greek word for “marble”) Galerie Urs Meile is showing a diverse selection of marble sculptures by Ai Weiwei, Hu Qingyan, Li Zhanyang, Liu Ding, and Not Vital. Marble has been a popular material for sculptures since the beginning of time in both Western and Chinese culture. In China marble from Dali is especially favored. Dali marble is known for its great variety and its natural striations of black and white. Often it is cut into slices and polished, and the various natural patterns seem to resemble mountains or rivers, a popular motive of Shanshui painting. Not Vital’s (*1948 in Sent, Engadin, Switzerland) works ((Landscape, 2014, marble, plaster, 126 × 65 × 22 cm; untitled, 2011, marble, plaster, 51 × 36.5 × 23 cm; Mountains, 2013, marble, plaster, 76 × 45 × 20 cm; Mountains, 2013, marble, plaster, 45.5 × 64.5 × 20.5 cm) are inspired by this tradition.
Vital selected a slab of marble and set it in a three-dimensional plaster frame. The reliefs mounted on the wall are reminiscent of inverted windows in historic Engadin houses. Combining local materials with references to his home territory in Engadin, Switzerland, is a typical approach for Not Vital, who also has a studio in Beijing and spends time working there.