Markus Selg’s myth-based work dares the viewer to reconsider contemporary art as all-encompassing, immersive and universal. His printmaking, sculpture and video-based practice is infused with recurring themes from world art history, and merges traditional craft and technology to re-spiritualise the role of the artist within a contemporary context.
Selg works in unusual self-isolation from his times quite literally: the artist has retreated into the woods in order to work, donning the role of the traditional craftsman and exploring the idea of self-sufficiency that accompanies it. At the same time, Selg takes advantage of the latest computer technology to produce multi-layered images like the dreamlike Vorahnung (Premonition) and the colour-saturated Angelus (both 2010), recalling the imagery and symbolism of earlier visual traditions of the German Romantics and Expressionists.
Thematically, night, nature, sex, life and death fill works such as the quasi-Biblical Traum der Sarazenin (2007) and the Gauguin-esque Searching for Ruwenzori (2010). Similar ideas around the life cycle, human loneliness and other allegorical states haunt his dramatically posed figures made out of plaster, jute, metal and wood. Mild und Leise Wie Er Lächelt (2008), which looks like a Buddhist icon, is more intricately ornamented and polished than more recent works from 2010 based on drawings, which free the figure with a more essentialised representation. Trauernde (Mourner), Betender, Eva, Anima and Abgrund (Abyss) show the artist continuing a three-dimensional shedding process and a tendency towards rustication, seen in the roughly-hewn Bench (Tiger) and Chair (Hanush) (all 2010).
The imagery in the works shown here is inspired by life and creation. When asked about the imperfections embedded in them, Selg refers to the sense of almost spiritual, single wholeness permeating his practice. ‘All of The Creation is perfect…The less you care about form and the more you are able to follow your intuition, the closer you can get to a truth, which is not only following the outer world. The cardinal example of a Gesamtkunstwerk is life itself.’