Stefan Marx’s latest exhibition Ridiculous Drama is open to interpretation

The most recent exhibition of Stefan’s takes words and scenes from his own experience and puts them into a new context.

30 April 2020
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2 minute read


We haven’t spoken to illustrator and artist Stefan Marx since we covered his partnership with friend Mac Demarco. Since then, a lot has stayed the same for Stefan, with him telling us “the focus is on drawing and typographic works, I try to travel and draw what interests me, writing sentences down which I think can be a painting in the future.” At the beginning of February this year, Stefan opened his fourth exhibition entitled Ridiculous Drama, at Ruttkowski;68 – a gallery in Cologne. The exhibition features 22 paintings, all of a uniform size, and a dozen wall plates. We had the chance to speak with Stefan about the exhibition.

“The installation was pretty straight, same height, same distance between the works,” Stefan describes, in contrast to the chaotic, colourful characters and words found littered across the work. “The mono-pigmented paint I used is so beautiful, so vibrant on the surface,” he comments, providing a visual coherence across the pieces. Made up of fragmented conversations and scenes Stefan overheard or read, the installation isolates these snippets of stories and recontextualizes them, crafting a new narrative open to the audience’s interpretation.

Told within this new drama is a vivid sense of the absurd – the “ridiculous” – culminating with Stefan’s plates. Reimagining the idea of the tatty souvenir plate, something that conjures up images of royal memorabilia and homes belonging to distant relatives, Stefan creates a new reality, one recognisable but at the same time... weird.


Stefan Marx: Ridiculous Drama

Regarding the plates, Stefan tells us he “chose the plates from the service Urbino,” which are manufactured at KPM in Berlin, and were designed by Trude Petri in 1929 who worked at the Bauhaus at the time of designing them. “I hand-painted and fired those at KPM,” Stefan tells us, “I had a Wall Plate Universe in my head, a solar system of planets and stars,” providing a beautiful cosmic context to an intensely domestic medium with content that is stripped from the everyday. This unadvertised small piece of information is an example of the amount of consideration Stefan pays towards the work he produces. The king of the understatement, Stefan is fairly secretive and nondescript about his work, perhaps due to his personal investment into it, resulting in artworks that have a deeply rooted past we are meant to determine ourselves.

“There are many projects in 2020 which are ahead of me,” Stefan remarks when discussing his future. “I got invited by art institutions in Germany and Austria to work on site-specific pieces, I get to work on some new drawings for an institutional show in 2021.” Ahead, Stefan also looks forward to a new publication with Hatje Cantz Publishing which, he tells us, “will show all my typography-based art since I was 15 years old.” Hoping the New York Art Book Fair takes place this year, Stefan is also intending to have a new book on show that he has worked on with designer Michael Satter.

GalleryStefan Marx: Ridiculous Drama

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About the Author

Harry Bennett

After graduating from Winchester School of Art, studying graphic arts, Harry worked as a graphic designer before joining It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020. He nows works as a freelance writer and designer, and is one half of Studio Ground Floor.

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