Michel Aniol was born 1983 in Tychy in Poland and migrated with his family to Nürnberg/ Germany in the late 1980's. Aniol studied visual arts and graduated from Weissensee Academy of Art Berlin in 2012, followed by a masterclass year in 2013 with Prof. Antje Majewski. He is working and living currently in Berlin/ Germany.
Aniol is co-founder and artistic director of the independent art project space stay hungry, Berlin. He curates and organizes in collaboration with the visual artist Meike Kuhnert various exhibition formats to provide artists and other cultural producers with a non-hierarchical, self-determined and financially independent platform of exchange and experimentation, helping to support alternative forms of art production and presentation.
Michel Aniol‘s artistic practice is based on a long-term engagement with the various manifestations of material culture. Here he examines the possibilities and qualities of visible and hidden cultural interactions and cross connections within the mutual and everlasting relationship of objects and people. Objects, whether they are of man-made or natural origin, have to be seen as mediators of messages between time and space that are linked to human activities, cultural backgrounds, economical and political circumstances as well as their historic and temporal contexts. The multifaceted ways of perceiving and constructing our human identities are defined in big parts through objects.
The global expansion of the ever-increasing world of objects, the commodities, covers new areas of different life environments and models, whereby consumer habits are quite different and can be adapted to local needs and tastes. Goods are exported from different countries all over the world, which results in a complex network of mutual trade and goods relations arise, and with them also a socio-cultural exchange takes place in different directions.
Here Aniol is particularly interested in the process and emergence of a new global material culture, that is producing forms of expression and content by linking and blending various cultural, social and political aspects of every-day as well as particular objects from different times and backgrounds. In this context questions are implemented searching for the relations, which are built up to objects defining the behaviors, norms, and rituals that they can create or take part in. In this field of tension Aniol explores the encounter of old, traditional social and cultural models with the expanding Western lifestyle on the basis of artifacts and objects from varying cultural and economical backgrounds. In doing so he creates new contexts and perspectives through the intermingling of objects in his installation works by rearranging contents and forms of expression by transcultural processes of appropriation.
Of special interest for Aniol‘s working approach are culturally specific objects and symbols, that function in their initial form as mirror images of social norms and values. By finding and collecting, these objects are first appropriated by Aniol and, in terms of their context and associated meaning, undergo a process of transformation in the course of a complex of works. The objects are subjected to a critical questioning with regard to their origin and the levels of meaning associated with it. These objects undergo a partial change of meaning through reinterpretation and rearranging with objects of other origins, in order to make the aspects of a multi-perspective view to multi-layered levels of meaning visible that may not be perceptible at first glance. This gives the viewer the opportunity to experience a new view of rigid, stereotypical patterns of interpretation and perception and thus to question them. A further important aspect in this context is the investigation of the mutual use of identical or similar objects and symbols in different cultural circles and their associated similarities of meaning but also differences.
Aniol spent several years traveling through South and Southeast Asia, parts of Europe, the Near East and North Africa, dealing intensively with the local material cultures and their social, political, spiritual and philosophical foundations as well as the visual symbols and languages of the respective region, aiming at exploring and recreating possible cross connections between different times and cultures. These journeys are conceived as artistic field research and, through the materials collected and found on site such as postcards, posters, fabrics, waste, statues, business cards, souvenirs, cult objects, plant parts, stones, fabrics, photos, books, brochures, maps, etc., form a large archive which serves as a starting point and basic material for works created later in his studio.