The wonderful world of Nadja Verena Marcin

In her photo and video work, as well as in her live performances, Nadja Verena Marcin offers a critical look at numerous parts of today’s society. At times autobiographical or fictional, other times referring to literature, art history or film, her art explores the human condition: the discrepancies and discontinuity within human behavior, personal relationships and exchange. The protagonists, usually performed by Marcin herself, are symbolic personifications of human behavioral patterns.

At first glance it seems that she’s dealing with everyday situations. Yet through the intensive use of her body and persona throughout the act of representation of thought process, Marcin literally exercises situations, shifts and breaks them up in different levels of consciousness and perception; finally reassembles them. The figures of author and performer mix, as does reality and fiction. The meaning of steady things is no longer linear. Through the use of irony, hyperbole, and alienation, Marcin succeeds in engaging the audience and reporting about the inner life, its mechanism and elemental human necessities. A new order for habitual and social roles is established and finds a poetical vulnerability and specificity. For example, in the video “Hotel”, a hotel and its guests become the stage for the depiction of the neuroses and repressed emotions that plague city-dwellers. The bizarre rituals that the guests of “Hotel” have to undergo demonstrate the lack of personal identity and individuality in a society hardened by intrapersonal competition and economic interests.

Nadja Verena Marcin, Hotel, 2010, HD Video/Film (still) , 12min. © Nadja Verena Marcin & 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel
Nadja Verena Marcin, Hotel, 2010, HD Video/Film (still) , 12min. © Nadja Verena Marcin & 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel

Marcin explores furthermore relevant topics that have already opened a discourse, like subcultures and the ethics within them. Most recently, //KIDS// – a revision of Larry Clark’s 1995 film – serves as a mirror for contemporary phenomena: social deprivation and decay, obsession with youth, and the manipulative nature of the media. By the particular mix of citation, inversion, irony and exaggeration Marcin creates a society in which the word ‘Kids’ becomes a description of state; in which conformity and irresponsibility prevail, consciousness is forgotten. In other works, such as “Spaghetta,” “Homeland,” “Eve” and “Cat,” she explores the social constructions of gender roles, sexual identity and intellectual property through new accentuation of stereotypes. A meal with friends, a young girl motionless between green leaves and a masked woman play with our levels of consciousness and distort the perception of the object / subject.

Nadja Verena Marcin, Eve, 2005, C-Print, 59" x 48" © Nadja Verena Marcin & 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel
Nadja Verena Marcin, Eve, 2005, C-Print, 59″ x 48″ © Nadja Verena Marcin & 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel

All of Marcin’s pieces stand out for their particular combination / mixture of the performative act and a cinematic structure. Due to a precise analysis of the emotional human interior and the subsequent transposition, her work reveals profundity, but also a playful, almost fairy-tale like nature to the world she displays. Each piece forces the viewer to delve into another universe comprised of fascination, passion, and enchantment. Marcin offers a journey through the hidden realm of societal taboos and emotional realities that invite the most daring to touch upon the deepest inner self.

Marcin received her MFA in 2010 from Columbia University, New York. Her work has been exhibited at Hudson Valley Contemporary Art Center, Peekskill (2013); Kulturstiftung Sparkasse, Unna (2013); ZKM- Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2012) ; TINA B. – The Prague Festival of Contemporary Art, Prague (2012); 2. Ruhr Biennale, Deutsche Bank, Duisburg (2012); Jinsun Gallery, Seoul (2011); Human Resources, Los Angeles (2011); Abrons Art Center, New York (2011); Garage Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow (2010); ICA Philadelphia; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York(2010); Kaunas Biennale (2009); Mediations Biennale, Poznan and Kunstmuseum Bonn (2008). And received the award for Art and Language; DAAD Stipend; Int. Artist Career Development Grant; Fulbright Award. In May and June, it will be on view at Gallery On, Seoul and VOLTA 9, Basel presented by 532 Thomas Jaeckel Gallery, New York.