Max Marek

The excavation of different levels within a book is very significant to my work. It results in a transition enabling the viewer to see through the book from front to back. When turning the pages a microcosm becomes visible, revealing a dense topography of silhouettes, shapes and figures.

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 these books is defined by 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. This void or cavity is just as important for the newly created image as the material which has been allowed to remain in place. The book is now a block from which I have carved volume to obtain space and the paper from which I have cut this has become one with the work itself.

Several hundred unique hand-cut books have been produced in this manner. I continue to dissect the body, extracting ever more aspects of the human condition – it is a passage into skin and those overlapping layers of experience.

Born in New York City in 1957, son of german parents, Max Marek grew up in Manhattan and Woodstock. In 1970 the family moved to Germany and having finished school there he spent four years in France, studying illustration and working freelance in Paris. Back in Germany in the early eighties, Marek started painting, printing and making his first paper cuts. He soon began to show his work in galleries in Hamburg, Cologne, Paris, Munich and other cities.

Dance had a strong impact on his work, especially Japanese Butoh and german Tanztheater, causing Marek to become less interested in color and painting; now focussing more on contour and line. After having moved to Berlin in 1999, he soon began with first experiments in the field of artists books, searching for a way to incorporate volume and the third dimension in the otherwise flat paper cut. In 2003 he started working with bookbinder Christian Klünder, who binds the books according to Mareks ideas.

These books have been acquired by numerous international collections such as
USA : Columbia University/NY, Yale University/CT, Swarthmore College/PA, Reed College/OR
GERMANY : Museum Haus des Papiers/Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin,
Klingspor Museum Offenbach, Kunst-und Museumsbibliothek im Museum Ludwig/Cologne
FRANCE : Bibliothèque Forney Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France,
Médiathèque Landowski Boulogne-Billancourt
LUXEMBURG : Bibliothèque Nationale de Luxembourg
MONACO : Médiathèque de Monaco
SOUTH AFRICA : Jack Ginsburg Centre for Book Arts at the Wits Art Museum Johannesburg
and many more public and private collections as well.

Max Marek’s Website

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