Markus Manowski: Nothing Can Go Wrong

Berlin's regular partygoers probably know Markus Manowski as Daze Maxim, the Berlin-based musician, producer, and performer in the field of electronic music. You can often see this name on the pages of Resident Advisor, in the line-ups of various club nights. Recently it became more likely for Markus' name to appear on Bpigs and in similar art environments. It seems as if he had enough of techno beats and wild club nights, and decided to retrieve in the silent and solitary world of painting. Although he is still quite active in the music scene, it is not hard to believe that, after twenty years of being in the neon spotlight, he might be wishing for a change of scenery and new artistic challenges.

His first solo exhibition of paintings at the gallery L'Atelier-ksr seems to be just that: an expression of accumulated voices of his creativity, which cannot be released through music. Those voices are the ones that speak from the deep dark place where we try to reach for the right answers, forgotten names, almost-familiar faces. Where the culture of constant information flow sneaks in to leave its residue and shape our fears and desires. Through this process of extracting and filtering the world around him, Manowski's paintings are actually liberated of any pre-conceived meanings. There is no calculated context; it is rather a melting pot of influences from different sources, all of which shape the artist's sense of identity.

The dream-like appearance of his dark canvases comes from the gloomy settings and characters with blurred identities. The undefined parameters of these scenes leave a lot of space for filling in the missing parts. I immediately reached for analogies to the work of David Lynch, for the paintings had the mysterious, sketchy vibe that evokes the director's signature mood. There is a certain tension, although not in a threatening way. The surreal elements create a feeling of discomfort, but the occasional outbreaks of color act as a playful reminder to look for the poetry in the whole picture, rather than dwell on its unsettling details. The predominant darkness makes me think of what Ann Demeulemeester famously said:  "Black is not sad. Bright colors are what depresses me. They're so... empty. Black is poetic. How do you imagine a poet? In a bright yellow jacket? Probably not." Having that in mind, a dark pallette suddently unfolds the complexity of emotions and thoughts, and puts things into a fairly different perspective. Even the title of the show complements the idea of ubiqutous ambiguity - nothing can go wrong, and yet everything can. This can be an inspiring mantra to take with anywhere you go, especially to a new place in life that is both frightening and liberating. Manowski's paintings leave a resonating impression, and with such a memorable debutant show, nothing can go wrong on his new artistic career path.

The exhibition runs through 17.05 @ L'Atelier-ksr
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