Image: Marc Brandenburg
© Marc Brandenburg, Photo: Christian Vagt
Museum Exhibition

Marc Brandenburg Hirnsturm II

28 October 2021—30 January 2022
Städel Museum Frankfurt

Drawing is at the centre of Marc Brandenburg’s (b. 1965) oeuvre. It forms the basis for all his artistic considerations. Since the early 1990s, the Berlin-born artist has been developing his graphic work, which can also be understood as an endless series. To these ends, he resorts to the simplest means: the camera, a photocopier, and later a computer, as well as paper and pencil. For the most part he uses his own photographs as a starting point, but he also uses material from other sources. With the help of the copier or an image processing program he inverts these photographs and transfers the resulting negative images onto the drawing – black becomes white, white becomes black. At times, he precisely executes the background, while at other times the motif is left free; it is occasionally mounted on the empty pictorial background so that it seems to float in space. The presentation of his works in black light adds an additional layer to the pencil drawings and unifies the different contents into a single flood of images. Marc Brandenburg devotes himself to themes and protagonists he encounters in his own surroundings: among others, banal objects such as plastic toys, idols from pop culture and costumed people who seem to mutate into fantasy creatures, but also the sleeping places of homeless people. A sense of ambiguity always resonates: Cheerful subjects can seem abysmal, while oppressive living environments radiate a peculiar beauty. Marc Brandenburg does not judge, but rather merely records what he sees.

His video installation Camouflage Pullover from 1992/2018 also deals bluntly with the realities of life. Marc Brandenburg observes from the perspective of a German, gay person of colour at a world marked by racism and prejudice: By concealing performers with simple jumpers with knitted-on, racist-stereotypical faces and hands, he relentlessly exposes these grievances. Who is really behind the mask remains hidden from passers-by – an only ostensibly playful questioning of identities that many people are not able to do in real life.

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