On planet Earth, the show goes on, waters are rising as well as temperatures. In international organizations, one talks and talks as democracies are slowly slip-sliding, religious wars spreading and spas filling up… In Marlon Wobst’s newest works, united under the rather ambiguous title RELAX, the artist focuses on the microcosmos of the individual against the backdrop of the vast world’s reality.
The artist depicts a hedonistic and lascivious world. He shows us an intimacy, of our body in communication with the Other and its relationship to the environment, to the elements. Bodies are looking for contact, the tactile; they explore in groups or alone; they move, sip, observe, look at each other...exist. Existing takes on a whole other dimension here since its meaning is also material. With Marlon Wobst, figures emerge completely or partially from the paint substance or felted wool (as goes for the tapestries). Elsewhere they seem to merge, to re-become a simple matter in an abstract surface. Often, an anecdotal detail - such as the plastic band worn in swimming pools - catches our eye. This type of elements, like certain positions particularly funny and almost unsightly, brings in a touch of hyperrealism to a formal tone that is totally different. As a keen observer and manipulator of matter, Marlon Wobst offers us a poignant vision of the contemporary being, where narration and visual substance are closely linked while each offering a lecture within very different frames.
Here is Bayer. He is a surgeon who desperately loves women. In the operation room, his mind floats from one flesh to another as he intervenes on a giant anatomy. Bella, on the other hand, cultivates her body: At the gym, she moves from a machine to the mat, facing the rising sun reflected in the mirror... Maybe, later, she’ll go to the beach and meet her girlfriends, as painted in In Treue Fest (Holding on together) where women in bikinis and a discreetly green man (!) are making an obscure pact by piling their right hands on a gigantic naked woman .
Dark room presents a space in the dark where naked bodies stand out of the background because of their luminosity. Is it a photographic image getting developed or an orgy? The romps continue in the water - immersion, jumps (Springer), poses, crawl (Brust Rücken Kraul) - before immobilisation (Diskussion), and osmosis with the sun and warm sand (Teint). In the tapestry Die Flucht (The Escape), it’s a race: Four naked women run across the surface of the canvas diagonally, chased by a fuchsia-colored man… Maybe a sunburn! Ritt (Ride) captivates because of the power of the bodies going forward and the contrary movement of the horse that turns its head slightly towards the viewer, thus breaking the general impulse.
A distinguished colorist that moves with great ease from a melancholic and impervious tone to another made of humor and pleasures, from the most delicate pastels to bolder and psychedelic colors, Marlon Wobst continues his exploration of different media. Oil painting is here to stay; he likes it mat, more or less thick. Ceramics allow him to translate his universe into three-dimensionality with great originality in the way of articulating and composing large-scale ensembles, as his previous Parisian show L’OASI (2017) showed. A body of paper works was also born: the ensemble presented at DDESSIN 2019 (Paris) was an example of it. Then, recently, he developed wool-felt tapestries. These colored fibers – that can stretch, superimpose and be worked both on a flat surface or in volume is a fantastic field of experimentation for Marlon Wobst.
They add a raw dimension to the works, recalling animal skins and prehistorical paintings. The tapestries also possess a child-like quality when the three-dimensional figures resemble handmade dolls. But looking at them more closely, it’s the artist’s virtuosity that strikes: The stains and the transparencies of his painting take a new shape and the modeling of his ceramics a new softness.
With RELAX, Marlon Wobst asserts his ability to work as a fiercely efficient and sophisticated master puppeteer. He plays his game of appearing and disappearing, birth and transformation on a stage of quasi-abstract matter, where scenes and skits review contemporary humanity. If lightness, humor and tenderness are very much present, you mustn’t be fooled. The puppeteer has a tight grip.
Marlon Wobst was born in 1980 in Wiesbaden, Germany. In 2015, the Galerie Maria Lund welcomed his first exhibition in France – Starter - followed by L’Oasi in 2017. In spring 2019, the gallery presented a selection of works on paper at the fair DDESSIN (Paris).
After having received the International Solo Award 2015 from the Charlottenborg Fonden, the prestigious institution Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen presented his exhibition Twister in spring 2016.
Despite his young age, the artist has an impressive career and has exhibited many times in Germany, Denmark, Brazil, Finland and the United States.
Marlon Wobst studied at the Akademie fûr Bildende Künste in Mainz and at the Universität der Künste in Berlin where he was awarded the Meisterschülerpreis des Präsidenten (2012).
He currently works and lives in Berlin.
A monograph of his work - Marlon Wobst - was published in 2017 by the Kerber Verlag.