Of Strawberries and Art

"There was some tension and stress with setting up the exhibition space, so I bought two kilos of strawberries to make everyone happy again," explains Universität der Künste (UdK) art student Markues as he offers me an almost too ideal looking waxy, bright red strawberry. He had previously spent the day lifting, setting and painting large walls that will soon hold his artwork for his final UdK Rundgang. It must feel somewhat bitter-sweet, but Markues positively prances around his dishevelled studio with his basket of strawberries. His studio is currently a wreck as it has been turned into storage space for the Rundgang and his final exam is days away, but everything is just fine. So what's next for this talented young artist?

BAPS: Why do you think that your work is so concerned with the concept of identity?
Markues: There is a lot within the concepts of identity I can't comprehend and  I find the elasticity of these concepts throughout history (or even the last 50 years) and cultural contexts intriguing. As a concern to almost everyone it's worth to open up and shift questions towards the images, pictures, conceivability and politicisation of identity and add layers beyond. In this regard  and without narrowing it down I recommend Jim Hubbards movie "United in anger– A History of ACT UP"(2012)

BAPS: You flit between photography and illustration – which medium do you find more satisfying?
Markues: I'd rather emphasize the similarities of all my artistic practice, as there are also texts, collagues, videos and they appear as installed slide projections, too. They are linked by the approach of visual communiciton. There is always the questions of media specifity, how to get the things done and how not to or narrow yourself to one medium or style. "Inside the white cube", especilly the epilogue with  O'Doherty's phrase that artist get reduced to imperialists of their own aesthetic individualtiy (by the art market). In my work the impuls usually is writing, writing with different media.

BAPS: A lot of your work seems to modernise classical forms, what gave you this idea?
Markues: I'm interested in intertextualtity of artworks. To me there are three advantages in focussing on them: first (not very new) to avoid the idea of the artist as a genious doing something originally new and unique in a highly hierarchical set-up, second to refresh and relink artworks offers a wide and fascinating field of thought, and finally it's a framework to concern oneself with the references used.

BAPS: We loved your self-portrait as Nan Goldin, has she acted as a big influence in your creative career?
Markues: It's more complex fascination, magnetism. Her ethos of photography doesn't really convince me, though she did pictures I admire and her slideshows are affective. Especially this idea of authenticity, this view of "looking at a real 80ies drag queen" etc., could to be criticized (from a position of sympathy and antipathy at the same time), which I do with this piece. More influential for me and in contrast are Felix Gonzalez-Torres or Leigh Bowery and friends I collaborate with. 

BAPS: As a student or a graduate, is it difficult to catch a break in a city full of artists?
Markues: Yes.

BAPS: Where in the city do you work best?
Markues: Different places for different tasks and drift. Its necessary to surround myself with a variety of environments to stay versatile. If you want to flirt with/research other artistic postitions there is no better place than Kunstbibliothek at Potsdamer Platz, as you immediatly get almost every book and newspaper published. Reading at Südblock while sitting in the sun at Kottbusser Tor is just a joy. And I (re)discover the potentials of solitute- so I'm looking  forward towards some silence to immerse myself in my work.

BAPS: What comes next once you’ve finished your degree?
Markues: The next month  I'll spend most of my time in the studio, drawing. From September on I dive into a six month research in New York to examine the political potential of resignifying the symbolic means of colours. Parallel I continue working on the mimikry of the book "The World is Beautiful" – because it is.

  • Catch Markues this weekend at the UdK Rundgang located at Hardenbergstrasse 33. Opening Times: July 12th 7-10pm, July 13th-14th from 11am-10pm and July15th from 11am-8pm.