©Tim Sonntag

May 11, 2023

Interview: Marco Reichert, Berlin based artist

You have been working as an artist for over 15 years. Can you briefly describe your artistic career? Where did you learn? What experiences have shaped you over the years?

I studied painting at the Weißensee School of Art with Katharina Grosse, Werner Liebmann and Antje Majewski. Prior to that, I spent three semesters studying computer science at Humboldt University, which I initially considered a waste of time. However, I later realized how much this knowledge would be linked to my work.

You work with a kind of painting machine in your art. How did you come to do that?

It wasn't a planned concept, but rather something that developed over time. The first works that involved a "machine" were large-format drawings made with a small, remote-controlled snow caterpillar. I was able to paint geometric shapes at a physical distance while keeping an eye on the whole composition thanks to the construction of the model vehicle. This evolved over the years into different vehicles that became part of my process.

Your work "15 Boxes" refers to the files found in Donald Trump's estate and features written images of documents. What media inspire you to create a new work?

"15 Boxes" is a deliberately politicized work with a concrete provenance. The titles of the individual sheets are a source reference from the FBI files. While the visual origin is so direct and charged with content, my way of working is often more diffuse. I frequently make 3D scans of surfaces that have a direct influence on the shape of the lines. However, the influence of art, music, films, and other impressions that I encounter is just as important, albeit more difficult to capture.

How do you work with the machine? What role does it play in your artistic process? What preparatory and finishing work is necessary?

The machine has become an integral part of my routine, but it remains a tool. Nevertheless, its influence on my way of working is significant. The fact that the machine is self-built is just as important as the unpredictable "disturbances" or "glitches" that emerge during the process, which have an inseparable digital and analog/physical part.

Many of your works feature forms that fill your paintings, which resemble fingerprints or skulls. Can you tell us more about these forms and what they represent?

There are no roots abstracted from reality here. The form is also the result of a process-based way of working and developed over years.

In your current exhibition at HOTO gallery, you're collaborating with music producer and techno DJ Discrete Circuit. How did this collaboration come about, and what does it look like?

We met on the street, common friends, similar interests, and the same regular café. We had the idea to collaborate for a long time and finally made it happen. But again, the path was not predictable. We went into the studio without a concrete goal, but played, made, and discovered. This resulted in the audio file, to which the generative visualization reacts directly and in real time.

We are very happy to be able to show a solo exhibition with you again. Thank you Marco!


April 6, 2023

Interview: Lea Mugnaini, artist-in-residence at HOTO

Tell us how you actually came to your artistic work. How long have you been working as an artist and how did you get there?

I was six when for the first time I realized what art was, and what it represented to me. (Disclaimer, I come from a family of creatives).

The incredible work Der Lauf der Dinge, a 16-mm-Color-film by Peter Fischli & David Weiss, was my first encounter with art. I still remember that moment and the excitement it sparkled in me. Few years later, Gartenskulptur by Dieter Roth installation at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin confirmed that art was going to play a central role in my life.

If you will, I consider these two works my baptism: I was for the first time introduced to a world of pure fantasy, ingenuity, irony, equilibrium and also depth and abstraction at the same time. I was struck by the fact that one could conjugate work and Weltanschauung.

I started discovering my artistic path during high school in Florence, surrounded by ancient beauty and immersed in Renaissance art. This experience left a profound mark in my artistic practice, which has always been infused with elements of beauty, composition, and balance. It was when I moved to Berlin though, that I completed my education and developed my practice for what it is right now. Studying photography at Oskreutzschule Academy, then at Weißensee academy and following at UDK, allowed me to explore a different side of my sensitivity, and added a conceptual depth to my practice.

In your art, you work with the shapes of things from your environment. Why are you particularly interested in this and since when has this kind of artistic expression been in the foreground for you?

My works revolve around the coexistence of intuitive abstract forms and figuration. I utilize archetypal shapes to outline metaphysical landscapes and to portray how we relate to places that surround us. Each work strives to establish a universal language that can speak to everyone, might the shapes be extrapolated from a surrounding landscape might they be found in an old roman cistern (see my last installation).

Traces and forms are essential carriers of our past, authors of our present, and fortune tellers of our future.

Are there specific forms from your surroundings that inspire you for your works?

My shapes are residual memories and symbols of a reality that touched me, which I then translate into my own artistic dictionary of sublimated forms, to freeze moments, landscapes, and feelings in time. My metaphysical landscapes serve a two folded purpose of preserving a legacy and infusing new concepts into existing things at the same time.

What do forms trigger in us, what connects us in the perception of forms?

The Human ability to perceive forms and elements has a direct connection with the struggle of deciphering pre-existing concepts like in Plato's cave.

I focus my attention on fundamental shapes, those outlines that can define a shape without trapping it. Therefore, at the beginning of every sculpture, there is an extensive drawing effort.

I believe that humankind strives to give meaning to shapes and symbols, and this effort is the silver lining connecting my work.

How do you come up with the materials you use? When do you work with steel? How did you come to work with bronze? What is the relationship between the material and the form?

I predominantly work with metal for a very specific reason. The originating shapes that I transform are mainly organic, and by forcing them into a non-organic, non-malleable medium as metal, I not only challenge the status quo of things, but also aspire to render such symbols permanent, immutable, indisputable.

I recently embraced bronze as a new addition to my works, probably for the intrinsic nature of the material itself and the complexity -almost an innate resilience- that it requires to be forged into an artwork.

What was your experience as artist-in-residence at HOTO like? Which works were created here?

I am grateful for the opportunity that the HOTO team gave me, it offered me the chance to connect and interact with amazing and kindred individuals, who enriched my artistic vision and encouraged me to grow beyond my boundaries. Many incredible ideas and works were born during the months of residency in Berlin. Thanks to this experience, I decided to work for the first time with the bronze, and I realized I imbibed my sculptures with a more biographical element.

Throughout the final exhibition I will show my latest collection of works OF SLEEP AND DREAMS - Le specie del sonno, a metaphysical journey across the thin line that divides sleep and wake. A journey that will make you constantly question if what is in front of you is real or a product of your subconscious.

A new series of fantastic creatures that have accompanied me during the months of my residency, inspired above all by the book Le specie del sonno, written by Italian writer and editor Ginevra Bompiani. An incredible piece of work where her dreamlike creatures live in suspended time.

Grazie, Lea!

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