Maximilian Zentz Zlomovitz: Rape Me
The new exhibition from Berlin-born artist’s exposes instinctive nature of work
The new exhibition by Maximilian Zentz Zlomovitz exposes the instinctive nature of his work. David Pollock attempts to get to grips with the Berlin-born artist’s practice
The work of German artist Maximilian Zentz Zlomovitz, says the press release accompanying his latest show in Glasgow, concerns itself at least partially with ‘the aesthetics of destruction’. It’s hard to ascertain from the limited contact The List has had with him, but such potentially punkish leanings seem not to just apply to his work. He agrees to an interview, but not by telephone because he doesn’t ‘feel comfortable to speak on the phone with strangers! It would be different if you do the interview eye to eye.’
So we diligently fire off a list of email questions asking about the show and his practice in general, and in return come back a list of almost obtusely short and sharp answers, suggesting he’s unwilling to engage with the work or discuss it. There may, of course, be language problems, but when asked to elaborate on the work he will be showing, what the gallery describes as ‘a series of new collage works, paintings and sculptural pieces’, he counters, ‘No theme, no method, very personal stuff!’ (commas The List’s own). What ideas is he hoping the work will express? ‘My inner desire!’
All of which suggests a talent that’s as much instinctive as it is learned (Zlomovitz, a Berliner by birth and residence, graduated from the city’s Universität der Künste in 2006). So what do we have to go on as far as this show is concerned? How about 2008’s Waiting for Maleism’ his last gallery exhibition at Mary Mary and only his second in the UK: a show which, The List’s reviewer sensed, was ‘asking for trouble’. The show featured everyday objects such as an office chair, a briefcase and a video cassette tape, each bashed, burnt and splashed with paint, violently deconstructing the objects but bestowing on them a kind of individual beauty whose validity might depend on the beholder’s eye. It’s as if he were trying to force art and vandalism brutally into the same space, and reclaim such benign symbols of mainstream orthodoxy as scarred and functionless symbols of countercultural disruption.
‘There is an “other-ness” about these objects and their configurations,’ says the gallery’s press material, ‘where relations between objects and image seem to replace human relationships.’ For this show, Zlomovitz will apparently be concentrating upon the use of painting and drawing, although many online examples of his work in these media retain the aesthetic of amateur graffiti: one bears the word ‘JUNKIE’ in red spray-painted letters which don’t quite fit the canvas.
One other point strikes about each show. The last one was ‘Waiting For Maleism’, this one is called ‘Rape Me’. There are many tensions in his work between youth and age, authority and rebellion, and so on. Are the genders also implicitly being referred to? ‘I think everything relates to another thing somehow!’ he writes. ‘Don’t you think so? But I can’t tell you why! It’s an unconscious thing! The title has nothing to do with the show, it’s more the feeling of it now before the show and otherwise the “song” [‘Rape Me’ by Nirvana] makes me calm down a little! But you will maybe find out yourself if you see the show!’
Maximilian Zentz Zlomovitz: Rape Me, Mary Mary, Glasgow, Sat 19 Feb–Sat 2 Apr.