Recently reviewed artist Marin Majic creates works that are unsettling as they are compelling. The Berlin based artist came to New York City and showcased his art at Marc Straus on the Lower East Side. AF took time to ask Marin about the Berlin art scene, his childhood, the notion of perfection, mentors and just what makes an artwork memorable. So get ready to commit into memory interesting things about this artist and be spellbound by that ole black, well dark, Majic!
Arte Fuse: Your current series at Marc Straus has some disturbing element in there that is taboo and weird. Did you have a happy childhood?
Marin Majic: I could see that they are unsettling but not disturbing. If they are disturbing- that is not intentional, but maybe I’m disturbed. I hope not. My childhood wasn’t too bad. I like juxtaposing the familiar and foreign within my works. I enjoy creating situations where a viewer has to look twice and can’t take reality for granted.
AF: Being based in Berlin, what can you share about the art scene there? Why did you venture here in New York?
MM: Berlin is a dynamic and interesting city. It’s been in transition for more than 20 years now. Studios are affordable. I’ve only been living there for a year, so I’ve just scratched the surface. New York is a beautiful city and a magnet for anyone who is interested in art. Simply the best place to have my first solo show.
AF: Where do you find inspiration for your art? In the everyday or the subculture/hidden/alternative scene?
MM: I definitely create out of every day life. I like to make something uncommon out of the common. I use everyday imagery, found imagery, common imagery – imagery that is able to communicate and is relatable to a broad range of people…and of course also to myself.
AF: A rhetorical question, if you did not choose to be an artist – what other career you could have gone into?
MM: I could never hold a job for the life of me. Painting is the only thing I can do, without going stir-crazy.
AF: What art period or movement in history you would have wanted to be in and the artist you would have loved to be your mentor?
MM: I never wanted to be a part of any kind of artistic movement. The art I like often differs from the art that inspires me. And the age I would like to live in often differs from the age the art comes from that I’m inspired by.
For instance, although I would have liked to have the knowledge of some of the Flemish masters, I wouldn’t have liked to live in their time. I’m pretty much a fan of electricity, antibiotics and hygiene.
The 1960’s – 70 “s NYC art scene must have been quite some fun.
I see mentors more as hurdles to overcome. As soon as one admires someone too much, one’s work will become too similar and therefor un-original…no longer a true expression of one’s self. In my case, if I were to find a mentor I would search for someone with a counter nature to my own. I learn more about myself through struggle and conflict. That is why, mentors of great artists, weren’t always great artists themselves. I’m happy to be living and working in a contemporary context.
AF: Favorite food that you cannot find in New York – and they say New York has everything culinary wise.
MM: I am pretty sure everything can be found in New York but I wasn t really searching.
AF: After New York, where would you love to go and show your art?
MM: Berlin, London and Paris of course…and Tokyo too.
AF: Finish this statement: Perfection is….
MM: …a direction – not a goal.
AF: For any art to be memorable it has to be….
MM: Fascinating, conflicting, beautiful, horrible, unique, powerful, uplifting, bothering, difficult, easy, delightful..different works have different qualities and will stay with you for opposite reasons…there is no such thing as a recipe..it just has to communicate with you, touch you on an intimate, emotional level and tickle your intellect. The artwork should be expressing something that couldn’t be defined in any other form.
Marin Majic’s show is still on view at Marc Straus (299 Grand Street. NYC, NY 10002) till February 8, 2013. Come away disturbed or slightly unsettled but his work will make you look twice. Really worth a second look!
PS: I am also a fan of – electricity, antibiotics and hygiene.
Interview by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Art Images courtesy of the artist
Artist photo by Poppy Gordon