On Drawing & Memory: Interview with Artist Marc Bauer

Posted on 6 May 2014 by Liverpool Biennial

Marc Bauer, The Collector Ballroom  2013. Wall drawing, black chalk, various size. Courtesy Freymond-Guth Fine Arts Ltd., Zurich

We caught up with Biennial 2014 artist Marc Bauer on his recent trip to Liverpool to discover more about his upcoming project for the 8th Liverpool Biennial Exhibition A Needle Walks into a Haystack.

Bauer’s drawing cycles, installations and films reference images sourced from public archives and private family photo albums. His drawings are made on a range of materials, including paper, aluminium, and interior walls, and address how displaced historic narrative and memory relate to, and are constructed by, stereotypes, power and ideological systems.

Who or what inspires your work?

My artwork is mainly drawings, and these are usually very simple, black and white pencil drawings. I find inspiration in my surroundings, especially things such as memories and events. I also like to work from images that I find on the internet or in daily life, as these can inspire my sketches.

What attracts you to drawing over other mediums?

Compared to other mediums you can work with, it is very cheap and very light, so you can draw anywhere and transport your work and tools everywhere with you. Drawing is very flexible and gives you so many possibilities - a very small sketch could transform into a huge drawing and be transferred to a wall or any other surface. It is a very practical medium.

"I am interested in memory because in a way it is a constant process; you are always inventing a story around every event you have experienced"

Marc Bauer, The Collector  2012. Drawing, pencil on paper, Private collection

Can you talk us through your creative process?

Usually, at the departure point, I have an image or an idea and I try to develop it. This "trying" part can be quite slow, as you never know what the idea is going to become. The purpose of developing a sketch from a found image is not to do a duplicate it, but to bring something different to the next drawing. I like the fact that I never know where exactly this process will take me.

Your mentioned that your work explores the idea of memory – what is it about this subject that interests you?

I think I am interested in memory because in a way it is a constant process; you are always inventing a story around every event you have experienced. When you think of that moment, you can end up inventing a new story that has nothing to do with the situation, but helps you to decide whether it was a good moment or a bad moment in your life. I find this process of recreation very interesting and quite mysterious.

"Drawing is very flexible and gives you so many possibilities"

Marc Bauer, The Collector Ballroom  2013. Wall drawing, black chalk, various size. Courtesy Freymond-Guth Fine Arts Ltd., Zurich

What is unique about devising work for a Biennial rather than a gallery, and what do you hope to gain?

What is great about Liverpool Biennial 2014 is that it is a collaboration with the curators (Mai Abu ElDahab and Anthony Huberman) and it is something very specific for this location. With the Biennial, you have a lot of time and a lot of support, so you can develop something more complex than what you would usually create in a gallery for instance, so you can be more experimental. When creating work for a gallery, I almost always find that there is a more commercial slant. For an institution like Liverpool Biennial it is more about the creative process, so I find it quite exciting

What do I hope to gain from the process? A nice piece of work. If you succeed to create something that you’re happy with then its great, that's success I guess, and you hope that other people will like it too. It’s important to be happy with your final piece of work.

To find out more about Marc Bauer's work, visit www.marcbauer.net

Bauer's work will be on display as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2014 Group Show from 5 July - 26 October at The Old Blind School (Former Trade Union Centre) on Hardman Street.

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