Opening, 07 February 2014, 6-9 pm
ARNDT is pleased to present Marin Majic's first solo show in Germany.
Majic's works thrive on their interaction with the viewer. They appeal to the viewer by stimulating visual identification that the artist skillfully puts onto the canvas. He does not employ readily identifiable faces to draw the viewer nearer to the canvas; in fact, he uses familiar scenarios that everyone might have in their own repertoire of images: a little boy in a Bavarian costume standing in an idyllic clearing in a mixed German forest; a man in a uniform sitting on a horse in front of blossoming shrubs in the sweltering heat; a gentleman in a gray pin-stripe suit posing before the viewer; father and son seated side by side on a bench having their portrait taken somewhere on a platform in front of a carefully draped curtain.
Each choice of perspective is unorthodox and through the apparent presence of an invisible lens suggests the impression of a realistic manner of painting of the subject. However, directly in front of the canvas, uneasiness creeps up that firmly latches itself onto the previous impression. The paintings shed their impression of reality and unfold something that Sigmund Freud described as "the uncanny".
Majic does not portray the uncanny directly; rather, it arises above all from his choice of motif, its composition and representation. Whether a classical landscape painting or a portrait, all works displayed in the exhibition show a moment in time that at first glance appears familiar. The motifs selected resemble snapshots that can be found in any number of family albums.
It comes as no surprise. The artist digs them out from online image sharing platforms, removes a few elements, pastes them together into new scenarios, and depicts them in his realistic manner. The longer you look at them, the more uncanny they become. He paints a hand too large, or the sky too blue. A face appears like a mask, or the pomegranate seems too big and lush in the painting. Nature appears overpowering, almost aggressive.
Viewers are forced to switch between distance and proximity. They approach the painting and the subject, assuming that they can recognize something familiar. But the process of identification is ultimately interrupted by the alienating effect of the painting's mise en scene and composition. Thus the viewer is kept at a distance. The impression of reality has become uncanny, and the familiar foreign. Yet, it is possible, albeit for a brief instant, to identify with the motif, only to distance oneself again at once. If this visual impression occurs, then the artist has achieved what he is trying to do with his works: His paintings, extracted from the world of online imagery as well as from his own visual memory, are meant to be filed away in the viewer's memory bank and live on as phantasmagoria.
Marin Majic (born in Frankfurt am Main in 1979) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Zagreb from 2004 to 2010. He has participated in several solo and group exhibitions in Croatia and the U.S. since 2008. The artist lives and works in Berlin, Germany.