Gerhard Marx | Spatial Imaginaries, Propositional Cartographies
Goodman Gallery London
25 June – 31 July 2021
Goodman Gallery is pleased to present Gerhard Marx’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery, his first in the London gallery space.
Spatial Imaginaries, Propositional Cartographies focuses Marx’s engagement with the physical and ideological constructions of space onto the complication of spatial imaginaries. Spatial imaginaries are the descriptions of space that alters, makes and shapes that which it describes. It marks the interface between the physical and the ideological; between the terrestrial, and the metaphors, visuals and languages used to engage it.
Marx uses the logic of collage to meticulously fragment and dissemble existing cartographies in order to carefully ‘grow’ them into a constellation of ‘propositional cartographies’. In the process of developing his own two dimensional as well as three dimensional constructions, Marx reflects on an array of alternate spatial conceptions.
Central to this is Nadia Yala Kisukidi’s reflection on diasporic dentity. Kisukidi suggests the possibility of inhabiting two places at once; suggesting the idea of embodying a ‘double presence’, of ‘thinking from two places’.
Other spatial re-imaginings that find resonance in this body of work engages the image of the globe as one of containment, of parts contained by a whole. Jean-Luc Nancy suggests replacing the idea of the ‘Globus’ (the image of containment) with that of the ’Glomus’, an entity characterised by boundless agglomeration and endless proliferation 1 . Bruno Latour adds to this reimagining of the globe 2 ; “Ecology”, says Latour, “is not so much a matter of parts and whole, but is rather a series of overlapping entities.” 3
By meticulously re-constructing cartographies into ‘Propositional Cartographies’, Marx deliberately complicates the flat rectangular format normative to cartography, (or drawing board, aerial photograph, or screen), as a means to question its instrumentalization of a thinking that favours distinct boundaries, linear narratives, and other exclusionary practices that operates through simplification of Geo-spatial dimensionality and Spatio-
Marx coaxes his cartographies into more complicated geometries as a way of considering possibilities of constructing visual metaphors that will facilitate a kind of thinking that facilitates complexity, ambivalence and multiplicity. To this end the works favour geometric strategies that overlap, intersect, unfold, layer, and complicate. For each work, a particular logic was developed and the work was then left to ‘grow’ into its own complexity. The result is a series of ‘unfoldings’; a series of cartographies that suggest a spatial imaginary which aspires to hold multiple positionalities, doubled presences, failed containments, lapsed distances, histories folded into one another, interwoven geographies, worlds that exist across, in between and amongst: a series of propositional cartographies.
Gerhard Marx (b. 1976, South Africa) develops his projects through an engagement with pre-existent conventions and practices. This process entails careful acts of dissection and rearrangement, which allow Marx to engage the poetic potential and philosophical assumptions of his chosen material, developing original drawing, sculptural and performative languages. Marx completed his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT and received his MA (Fine Art) (Cum Laude) from Wits School of Art, Johannesburg.
Marx’s work is shown regularly at international art fairs, held in numerous public and private art collections and was included on the South African pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Marx has been involved in the making of numerous public sculptures, including The World On Its Hind Legs, a collaboration with William Kentridge (Beverley Hills, LA), Vertical Aerial: JHB, (the Old Ford, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg), The Fire Walker, in collaboration with William Kentridge (Queen Elizabeth Bridge, Johannesburg) and Paper Pigeon, in collaboration with Maja Marx (Pigeon Square, Johannesburg). In 2018 Marx participated in the third season at the Centre for the Less Good Idea with his project Vehicle, in collaboration with musicians Shane Cooper and Kyle Shepherd. Vehicle is scheduled to form part of the Holland Festival in June 2019.
He has extensive experience in theatre, as a scenographer, director, filmmaker and playmaker, including REwind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony (directed by Marx, interactive film by Gerhard Marx and Maja Marx, composed by Philip Miller), performed at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London (2010), the Market Theatre, Johannesburg (2008) and the 62’Centre, William College, Massachusetts (2007).
Marx is a fellow of the Sundance Film Institute, the Annenberg Fund and of the Ampersand Foundation. He lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.