Stretching dimensions with Gerhard Marx
We were thrilled to have acclaimed artist Gerhard Marx back in the studio recently.
Drawing, sculpture, and performance are the chief mediums of his practice, but a couple of years ago, he began exploring printmaking as an avenue through which to investigate his subjects – thematic concerns that fall under an overarching and fantastically named category of ‘feral cartography’.
Marx interrogates the visual language and imperialistic knowledge systems inherent to mapmaking: he deconstructs and reconstructs visual conventions of cartography – altering and confusing reference points to ‘propose impossible volumes, leading the eye into a depth of spatial imaginaries’. As such, printmaking provided a logical discipline for exploring these ideas, with its technologies and graphic conventions historically complicit in the configuration of knowledge systems – and poised for some fictional manipulation.
In 2020, we embarked on a special project and collaboration with Marx, and the finished screen print was ‘Near Far’: an exceptional 10-colour artwork of layered dimensional play and fictive, near-palpable palimpsest.
During this most recent partnership, ‘1+1=3’, we saw something wonderful happen – the result of bold experimentation and radical decision-making made possible by continued collaboration. We dissected and subtracted from Marx’s initial starting point to reduce the subject matter in a way that only screen print can. Through this process of subtraction, the work becomes paradoxically more sculptural and more playful with dimensions and visual illusions, the control of meaning further ceded.
We’re really pleased with the end result. This piece epitomises the beauty and potential of the collaborative process, the magical possibilities when creative conversation is stretched to its full length and breadth.