Maria Eichhorn, born in 1962 in Bamberg, Germany, studied from 1984-1990 at the Berlin University of the Arts (HdK). The artist, who lives in Berlin, was awarded the George Macunias Prize in 1992 and the Arnold Bode Prize in 2002. in the same year she took part at the Documenta 11 in Kassel.
After a start in painting, she set out at the HdK to explore the basic conditions of art in a series of subtle interventions, beginning with "Entnutzte Treppe" from 1987. Since 1989, she works on monochromatic relief inscriptions, as in "gemischtes Doppel/mixed doubles" (1992) at the Vienna Secession, where she was reacting to a situation in a group exhibition. In 1989, Eichhorn also embarked on the "Vorhang" project, where curtains were installed in different contexts. On many occasions she has invited individuals from other disciplines to participate in process-oriented works, such as her "Arbeit/Freizeit" project (1994-96), organized on behalf of the Generali Foundation. Here, she questioned employees at the headquarters of the Generali Insurance Company in Berlin about their work and leisure activities and placed selected objects inside a specially constructed display case in the company building. Eichhorn involved a number of political groups in "Plakatwand", her contribution to "Orient/Ation", the International Biennial at Istanbul in 1995, while in "Skulptur. Projekte in Münster" in 1997 she persuaded a tenants’ union to participate. Art and its entanglement in other social realities also forms the background to "May 1, Film, Medien Stadt" (1999) at the Portikus exhibition space in Frankfurt, where the artist transformed the exhibition space into an editors’ office, with, among other things, a complete typographical workshop. In "Das Geld der Kunsthalle Bern" (2001-02), Maria Eichhorn was concerned with the actual financial needs and requirements of the institution. Her contribution to the Documenta 11 at Kassel in 2002 was to establish an "Aktiengesellschaft" that would tolerate no profits from capital gains. In so doing, she raised questions about both the principle of a profit-oriented social system and the role played by capital in the artistic production process. (Monika Vykoukal)