Max Marek

The excavation of different levels within a book is very significant to my work. It results in a transition or passage enabling the viewer to see through the book from front to back. When leafing through the pages a microcosm becomes visible, revealing a dense topography of the human body.

Having experimented with different materials, I now tend to prefer various kinds of paper and parchment for my cut-outs.Especially the use of braille paper can create a desired relief. The embossed dots allow for more space and light to enter between the pages than would normally be possible in a book. The emphasis is on the sculptural aspect, so that the image shown acquires a greater plasticity than would otherwise be the case.

The basic impression in all of my books is defined through the interaction of open and closed forms. The absence of material which has been cut out and removed is especially apparent in the technique of the paper-cut. The void, or negative space, is just as important in defining the shape of the paper-cut as the paper which remains in place. The paper from which I cut the image has become one with the work itself. The book is now a block from which I carve an image.

Over two hundred hand-cut books have been produced in this manner. I continue to dissect the body, thus hoping to extract ever more aspects of my interpretation of the human condition in our time.

Born in New York in 1957, son of german parents, I grew up in Manhattan and Woodstock. In 1970 the family moved to Germany. After graduation from school I spent four years in France studying illustration and then working free-lance in Paris. Back in Germany in the early eighties, I started painting and printing, soon showing lithos, drawings and oilpaintings in galleries in Hamburg, Cologne, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt and many other cities. Dance had a strong impact on my work, especially german Tanztheater. Amongst all the performances I attended, notably the several days I spent sketching during rehearsals of Pina Bauschs “Iphigenie auf Tauris“ in 1990 in Wuppertal were of great importance. My work has been represented at art fairs and art associations. Residency grants in Montreal, Canada and Sylt, Germany in 1998 and 2004, respectively.

Due to the lively international art and museum scene, I moved to Berlin in 1999, absorbing the vibrant atmosphere. Becoming more and more interested in contour and line than in color and painting, this eventually led to my first experiments in the field of artists books, searching for a way to incorporate volume and the third dimension in the otherwise flat technique of the paper-cut. In 2003, I began working with the bookbinder Christian Klünder in Berlin, who binds all of my books according to my ideas, guided by his professional advice. Examples of these books have been acquired by many collections. They have also been shown in several venues throughout Europe, including state and national libraries, galleries and museums.

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