In the time when the art of drawing is enjoying a renewed appeal, Swiss artist Marc Bauer manages to create drawings that both captivate and intrigue. Memories and events represent the main inspirations for his pieces as the artist aims to explore how ideology power and media influence our personal memories. The artist’s technique is marked by using graphite and lithographic chalk to draw the subjects and objects of interest and then using the eraser to smear the imagery to create the sense of depth. The blurring technique created in opposition to the predetermined artistic rule that line is the defining element in a drawing, also provides his images with a unique painters quality.
Marc Bauer’s Artistic Practices
Marc Bauer was born on May 28, 1975 in Geneva, Switzerland. He graduated art from Ecole supérieure d’art visuel (now HEAD) in Geneva and later at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Throughout the years he developed a unique style of drawing reminiscent of documents from public archives or private family albums. Memory and history both collective and personal are recurrent topics in Marc Bauer drawings. This is visible in his early work that often featured images from his childhood and family albums interviewed with the portraits of power figures from that time. The artist’s explorations of history quickly spanned from personal to encompass a broader social and political issues. Marc Bauer produces his amazing artworks in black and white which contributes to the vintage photography look and feel of his imagery. Although his use of color is usually limited to black and white, Marc Bauer range of materials on which he draws is much more versatile and includes paper, aluminum, and interior walls but the artist is also known to step out of his comfort zone and create original ceramic vases and coated aluminum panels. His drawings vary in scale and are known to encompass several sheets of paper placed together to create massive art pieces but his drawings are often executed in small scale as well.
Drawings reminiscent of documents from public archives or private family albums
Providing A Unique View on Public Archives Photograps and Family Albums
Marc Bauer usually creates his artworks in series. His exhibitions are composed of site-specific installations that incorporate the space of the exhibition into the composition of the work. The art venue gets covered with various studies used in the creation of larger works and unframed unaligned drawings often pinned directly onto the gallery walls. But Marc Bower solo shows are not limited to drawing only but also often include letters, projections of previous drawings, and real object presented on the art pieces. Additionally, the artist often paints murals on the gallery walls thus creating an optical illusion within the eye of the viewer. Recycling and recontextualization are also common in the artist’s work as he reuses artworks from his previous series to revisit old themes that are often presented in the new light.
Murals on the gallery walls create an optical illusion within the eye of the viewer
The Construction of Myths and Symbols in Contemporary Sculpture
The fact that Marc Bauer often creates artworks from photographs provides his pieces with a unique sense of stillness. The Swiss artist often creates images based on a variety of historical photographs including portraits of famous figures, school portraits, and intimate shots. These images draw attention to the fact that the person portrayed is conscious of being photographed. Through reconstruction of the images one line at the time, Marc Bauer references photography as a medium and its ability to capture the moment in time. Masculinity also represents and important topic in the artist’s works as he often portrays young man as his main characters. These teenage boys are marked with the appearance of latent violence and repressed homoerotic desires thus continuously exploring the meaning of masculinity. Films as a way of creating memory are also an inspiration for the Swiss artist who often uses imagery from movies such as Battleship Potemkin, Nosferatu or Planet or the Apes for instance to create his drawings. The artist’s film-inspired imagery explores the way movies create myths and symbols while simultaneously relying on the human ability to create vivid, moving narrative from static pieces. Marc Bauer is permanent lecturer painting and drawing at Zurich University of Arts. Marc Bauer exhibited his pieces in numerous venues around the globe including, FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, Marseille. Cinerama, 2015, Museum Folkwang, Essen 2014, Parcours Art Basel, 2013, Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich, 2013, La Station, Nice, 2012, Beirut Art Center, 2011, Museum Ostwall, Dortmund. Bild für Bild,2011 and a group exhibition at Frac Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, 2010. Marc Bauer’s artwork are a part of numerous public collections including the collection of Centre Pompidou, musée national d’art moderne, Paris, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco and Musée d’art de Pully, Lausanne.
Marc Bauer lives in Berlin and Zurich
- Anonymous., On Drawing & Memory: Interview with Marc Bauer, Liverpool Biennial [December 14,2016]
- Bauer, Marc History of Masculinity, attitudes, Geneva (2007)
Featured image : Marc Bauer – Portrait via kultur.ch
Images courtesy of the artist unless otherwise credited