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First Solo Exhibition by the Frankfurt Based Artist Flo Maak at Bielefelder Kunstverein
Flo Maak, Shelter 4, 2009. Pigmenttinte auf Fotopapier.

BIELEFELD.- The Bielefelder Kunstverein is the first institution to mount a solo exhibition by the Frankfurt based artist, Flo Maak (born in Fulda in 1980). In his photographs, photo-collages, objects, and his video and sound works, he investigates the conditions of situation, image and exhibition. To this end, the artist resorts to found image motifs as well as to those he stages himself.

This artist’s works are predominantly photographic and result from engaging intensively with the relationship of private and public spaces. This becomes obvious through earlier groups of works, which focus on image motifs like public conveniences, pedestrian underpasses, interiors, utilitarian objects and plants. In the process, this photographer with his keen eye for situations plays a decisive role, as does, however, the principle of chance. And for a good while now, Flo Maak has been equally working with collage as a creative vehicle: he combines and arranges his own and found image motifs, plays with the size-relations, and constructs his own scenarios. These in turn serve as the pictorial background for collages or translate collages into spatial structures. In the sense of extended photography, alongside and in conjunction with photographs independent objects and vehicles for images arise, which the artist often brings together into narrative spatial constructs. The atmosphere surrounding his work is permeated by its particular underlying melancholic mood, which can be read both pictorially and formally.

In this sense, the exhibition, »Nichts tun wie ein Biest« [Doing Nothing, like a Beast] does not frame itself so much as a collection of individual exhibits, but rather more as a dialogue of photographs, photo-collages, objects and one sound piece. What puts a bracket around its content is the complex relationship between humans and animals. In shaping this, the artist has quite consciously picked out individual aspects like the question about the division between humans and animals, like spectators’ pleasure as staged in concrete locations, or the analysis of structured environments, such as, for instance, nests, caves, refuges, houses, apartments etc.

In his current images, photographic portraits of wild animals dominate and conform to the usual depictions of animals only partially. His pictorial translating of animals in zoos or wildlife parks ranges from documentary snapshots to the digitally-manipulated group of works entitled »shelter« (2009), where animal photos are combined with interior environments. Spatially, the exhibition’s structure derives from three coloured objects featuring steps and stages. Visitor’s use them and so become part of the staging. The exhibition is a game with a staged voyeurism, which governs media and event culture and, with that, our everyday life.

He studied art history, philosophy and sociology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, as well as fine arts with Prof. Wolfgang Tillmans (until 2006) and with Prof. Willem de Rooij at the State Academy of Fine Arts, Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main and at Cooper Union, New York (USA). His artwork already received backing from a number of scholarships and prizes. In Germany, Maak has exhibited most recently with JET Berlin (2006), among other venues, and in the context of group exhibitions like the »Frankfurter Positionen« (Frankfurt Positions) in the Museum für Moderne Kunst (Museum of Modern Art), Frankfurt am Main (2007), and with the group, »Free Class Frankfurt/M.« at the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2008).

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