Within the small circle of art-world insiders – (i.e. those whose time or professions allow them to keep up with what artists, gallery owners and museum people are talking about), Maria Nordman has achieved an almost mythical status. While this says nothing about her art – which is far from remote or aloof, embracing instead a decidedly down-to-earth realism – it does say something about our era, our perceptions and our midset. Maria Nordman does not confront us with a clearly delineated product; no work of hers could be construed as a “trademark” of her art. Nor can her pieces be readily identified with a particular “movement”. People who know her work might mention an empty freighter that made several stops in 1981–82 on its journey down the Rhine, or enthuse about the specific conditions of light in an empty storeroom on a street corner in Kassel during documenta VI in 1977. They might speak of a sculpture formed of the voices of people standing equi-distant, just close enough to be heard; or of another sculpture, recently completed in Münster, built of trees.
Incidentally, not all her works are the stuff of legends: one can see them as they are, most notably a large work at "Situation Kunst" in Weitmar near Bochum. Works by Maria Nordman can also be found in sculpture collections: in Otterlo and – further afield – in Le Domaine de Kerguéhennec in France (Brittany).
In any case, the works of Maria Nordman successfully resist being reproduced and appropriated by the art market. Not that this is necessarily her intention: on site, her works appear neither inaccessible nor recalcitrant. The six drawings displayed in Stommeln in three upright box-like structures are neither especially cryptic nor remote, they are by no means ingenious, nor by any means spectacular. Yet, every art critic, publisher, dealer and curator might groan and think: oh, if only they were normal pictures that could be hung on the wall and then simply reproduced; if only these were real sculptures and not simply steel and glass plates; if only these were real installations, which truly lay claim to space. And why didn’t Maria Nordman install something in the synagogue? Wasn’t that the point?