Inge Mahn is a path-breaking artist of “Social Sculpture”. Her sculptures restate the world of everyday objects as pictorial projections since the 1970s. Her sculptures are based on acute observations of fundamental interpersonal actions and their social context. The materiality of white plaster and the altered scales detach Mahn’s motifs from their original functionality. Her works are subversive “gestalts” communicating to the outside what is tacit, excluded, worrying, and weird. Comedy and tragedy lie close to each other in Mahn’s oeuvre, like in real life. The artist sees her sculptures as “stops” in between; contradictions are not disturbances but complements. In Inge Mahn’s words: “I create an order to understand, or rather: I try to grasp the order that lies behind things. I want to know what the interrelations are and experience orders that I only assume. The orders that contradict our agreements or suspend them, yet that function together with each other.”
In 1972 Inge Mahn already participated in the documenta 5 curated by Harald Szeemann, right after her studies with Joseph Beuys. Renowned museums have dedicated solo exhibitions to her such as Tranegarden Kopenhagen (1976), Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf (1980), PS 1 New York (1981), Lenbachhaus München (1983), Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin (1985) or Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (1990). Her sculptures are included in collections such as Hirshorn Museum Washington, Kiasma Helsinki, at Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin, Kunsthalle Helsinki or Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf. In 2017 Inge Mahn presented a solo exhibition at the Kunstverein Braunschweig and at K 21 – Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen.