Marc Bauer’s debut solo London exhibition takes the form of wallpaper, wall-painting, drawings and a signed limited-edition book of drawings and text. Bauer presents vignettes of family life and childhood where memory, desire and fantasy mix. Personal memories lie at the heart of his drawings, which are used as the starting point for installations and video works.
Much of Bauer’s practice is rooted in his reading of the Marquis de Sade and Georges Bataille. In ‘L’Erotisme’ Bataille writes that ‘Transgression does not negate an interdiction, it transcends and completes it’ - an idea that can be used as the starting point to engage with Bauer’s work. For Bataille, the function of taboos is not to stop undesirable acts, but instead implicitly to invite their completion – sadism, masochism, incest ‘complete’ the interdiction against them.
Bauer’s wallpaper foregrounds the incest taboo but his deliberately simplified use of line and the domesticity of the medium suggests that these actions are not beyond the pale, extraordinary events but more everyday acts committed in anonymous front-rooms. Perversion becomes a series of constructs built on repression of mundane events.
In the accompanying series of drawings we are presented with a young teenager’s perception, filled with the detritus of adolescent life and longing. Again what might be seen as startling elements – the bare genitalia of a pre-pubescent girl, the tip of a young boy’s penis poking out of his y-fronts is rendered as the very stuff of domesticity, mixed up among toys and posters of heavy metal bands.
Bauer writes, ‘Happier Healthier is a ballad in an amoral world, in a twisted world… get confused by the happiness of the children, immerse in their games. The installation tries to put a perspective on morality and to confront its limits. How to behave in front of these images? Please, keep up appearances pretend that these drawings are funny, but don't be fooled, it might serious, it might have happened…’
Marc Bauer was born in 1974 in Switzerland. He studied art at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art Visuel Geneva and was a participant at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. He recently had a solo exhibition at the Stedilijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam.
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Marc Bauer "Happier Healthier"