Marc Bauer (*1975 Geneva, Switzerland) has been awarded the GASAG Art Prize 2020. He uses drawing as a medium to address issues like migration, identity and gender, a critique of new media, and links between religion and violence. Based in Zurich and Berlin, the artist conducts detailed research before creating his room-size installations consisting of works on paper, wall drawings, animations and sound.
The new narratives that result suggestively combine historical events with fictional elements. For his exhibition The Blow-Up Regime at the Berlinische Galerie, Marc Bauer delved into the history of the Internet. He sketches the portrait of a society undergoing transformation as a result of digitalisation and accelerating technological progress.
For The Blow-Up Regime Marc Bauer came up with an integrated multi-media concept for the first big exhibition hall in the Berlinische Galerie. The exhibition is an interplay of full-height, monumental wall drawings complemented by a sound landscape, paper-based drawings pinned to the wall with steel pins, and digitised drawings on e-paper displays freestanding in the room.
The work began with broad research into the history of the Internet from the earliest computers until the present. The focal question here was how the omnipresence of digitalisation has influenced our perceptions of reality, the individual and society. Marc Bauer took his title “The Blow-Up Regime” from a mathematical theory about singularity.
In pursuit of his project Marc Bauer teamed up with partners from various disciplines, such as the musician Thomas Kuratli, who composed the sound, and the Swiss-German writer Sibylle Berg. In his exhibition Marc Bauer makes several references to her novel GRM Brainfuck, published in 2019, both by including quotes from the book in his drawings and by drawing inspiration for motifs from settings in the plot. The artist began this close exchange with Sibylle Berg at the preparatory stage. They discussed how the writer approaches her work, but also current social developments triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and how these relate to themes in the novel and exhibition.
Their dialogue is reproduced in the catalogue. For the publication Marc Bauer also spoke to the Internet pioneer Alan Emtage, who was still a student when he devised the first Internet search engine (named “Archie”) in 1990, and to the computer scientist Luca Maria Gambardella, director of IDSIA (Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi sull’Intelligenza Artificiale), a research institute at the University of Lugano devoted to artificial intelligence and robotics.
The catalogue (German/English) will be published by Distanz-Verlag in late October. It documents the exhibition and contains texts by Thomas Köhler and Guido Fassbender and interviews with Sibylle Berg, Alan Emtage and Luca Maria Gambardella.