A recently deceased famous French critic once compared Thomas Mailender’s work to that of Bernd and Hilla Becher under the influence of Pastis, a local aniseed liquor popular in the south of France.
"Sorry, but you cannot bring your own artwork at the fair," said a security guard when he discovered Thomas Mailaender’s improvised and unauthorized performance, a remote-controlled wheeled reproduction of the Centre Pompidou building, entitled Centre Pompidou is closed for holiday, 2010, moving along an aisle of the Armory Show in New York. The guard at the fair couldn’t know his offhand remark described exactly what Mailaender was doing; he constantly hijacks art milieu conventions and sidesteps expectations by pirate exhibiting persona-non-grata items and manners. He focuses on the source material and subjects and appropriates and diverts found images from the Internet, flea markets and the like. Mailaender is an insatiable and compulsive collector of photographs and sociological patterns. One of his major investigations is a typological survey, inventory and recycling of human behavior, particularly hobbies and incidental activities, using entertainment as a substance and a means to develop his practice. Through his mise en abyme of the frivolous he allows a multitude of amateur and/or vernacular objects, images and customs to attain the status of artworks, repeatedly questioning the notion of artistic legitimacy.