Vilma Gold are pleased to present an exhibition of new work by German artist Markus Selg.
For his first solo exhibition at Vilma Gold Selg’s new installation will unite his multi-faceted practice, which includes painting, sculpture, digital prints and the moving image. Selg’s practice is characterized by density: His two dimensional landscapes and three-dimensional figures emerge from a process of collecting and condensing materials on the computer screen. Selg compresses the sci-fi and the classical, the primitive and the virtual, to make complex other-worldly and brooding imagery. Beginning with the creation of a fictional narrative, Selg’s practice works along two strands: the individual work of art, which stands always in and of itself, and the Gesamtkunstwerk- the Total Work of Art, which stages the individual work to play a role within a larger, all-encompassing production. Often inhabiting the form of the opera, the Gesamtkunstwerk is orchestrated by Selg using searching spotlights, sound and projection to create highly symbolic experiential rooms.
At the heart of the show is Selg’s first film proper. Shot in the mountains of the Czech Republic where the artist lived for a period in a primitive hut carving wooden figures, the film, titled ‘Schicksal’ (Destiny), depicts a lone man driven solely by his dreams of a new beginning. Paralleled by Selg’s shift in imagery from dystopian and smouldering hybrid technological worlds in previous works, to these calmer visions of palm-populated lansdscapes and peaceful skies, there is the sense here of man harking back to his more simple nature in order to shed himself of a period of decadence as he stands at the threshold of a new horizon. The title of the show, ‘A New Beginning’, marks it’s positioning as a sequel to his installation, ‘Traces of the Sun’ (2009). Where ‘Traces of the Sun’ ended with the few ravaged vestiges of a post-apocalyptic world left scorched and deserted, here we detect the first delicate shoots of a possible new life: the hope of a new dawn after the self-annulling excesses of mankind.
This sense is echoed in Selg’s sculptures of Adam and Eve, depicted here at the very point of taking their first tentative steps into a new realm following their expulsion from the paradisal garden. Imagery symbolizing the positive power of love and friendship runs throughout Selg’s work. The excitement and confidence inspired by self-determined collectives is called upon as a heroic antidote to the ambiguous forces of nihilism underwriting modern capitalist society. Selg’s hopeful designs for a new start for mankind in this sense recall those of the German architect Bruno Taut. Taut epitomizes the emphatic attempt to use radical architecture as a vehicle for creating utopian social environments during the Weimar period- an influence carried into the furniture designed for the show by Selg and Astrid Sourkova.
Relating to Wagner’s formulation of the Gesamkunstwerk as the clearest expression of a folk tale abstracted from particularities to become a universal humanist fable, Selg deals with archetypes of the collective unconscious. He infiltrates ruins of the distant past- Babylonian, Egyptian and primitive cultures- with modernity’s future-orientated remains to fuse them into intensive spatial situations and mental images. In their cumulative states these installations are frozen world theatres examining the scenario of humanity and its myths of creation and eschatology.
Markus Selg lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Akademie Isotrop in Hamburg and was the recent scholarship holder of Kunstzeitraum, PIN, Freunde der Pinakothek in Munich (2005). Selg has had solo shows at the MeetFactory, Prague (2009), Galerie Guido W. Baudach and Galerie Christina Mayer (2007). In 2009 he organized a collaborative installation with Jannis Kounellis and Werner Herzog in Montabaur and was included in Heaven, 2nd Athens Biennale.