smba: marc bauer
28 Mar - 16 May 2004

Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (Rozenstraat 59) presents Marc Bauers new project Tautology.

The oeuvre of Marc Bauer (Geneva, 1975) comprises drawings and videos. He has only combined these different disciplines in a single presentation on a few occasions. In his new project - Tautology  - which he composed for the three spaces of Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Bauer combines videos with drawings, figurative murals and a sound installation.
In his native country, Switzerland, Bauer is primarily known for his drawings. His early drawings take childhood memories as their starting point. At first sight, Bauer expresses a yearning for the idyllic days of youth. The drawings evoke feelings of nostalgia in the same way as photographs in a family album. 

But anyone to examine the drawings more closely will realise that the façade of intimacy and domestic bliss conceals another reality. A world of psychological tension, stifling power struggles and humiliation; unsuspected, dark undertones in human relationships that are mercilessly revealed in Bauer’s new work.

Among other things, Bauer painted a monumental mural in the larger space of Bureau Amsterdam; it depicts an empty arena which seems to be waiting for impending events. These are played out on the podium opposite, where a video triptych is shown. In a series of unsettling scenes, Tautology, Anteferno I, and The Balcony depict the forces which disrupt the fragile balance of human relationships.

In the SMBA Newsletter, Jesús Fuenmayor writes the following on Bauer’s work: “The striking thing about the images is the way in which they are interrupted by a series of disturbing events which overturn a particular moral order: the man who at one moment represents the paterfamilias, is in the next transformed into the two-headed man in an anal penetration position; a family that stands for the cornerstone of society indulges in incest by engaging in various unorthodox sexual practices; in a series of drawings, family pets are depicted in a state suggesting rigor mortis; zoophilia is clearly implied or represented; a scene showing soldiers fighting a war looks more like an act of rape. Scenes in which the individual is subjected to an array of destructive pressures exerted by society.”

In the Tautology exhibition, by employing repetitions of the drawn image, looped film structures and circular camera movements, Bauer draws the viewer into his world and, in a way alternately elegant and shocking, exposes the reverse side of human endeavour and bourgeois morality.

Marc Bauer (Geneva, 1975) completed his studies at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in 2003. He has presented his work in group shows at Galerie Walcheturm (Zürich), Kunsthalle Zürich, Helmhaus Zürich, and Postamt am Ostbahnhof in Berlin. This is his first solo exhibition outside Switzerland.

The exhibition Marc Bauer – Tautology  is curated by Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, director SMBA. SMBA Newsletter No. 79 is published to accompany the exhibition, and contains a piece by the Venezuelan critic, Jesús Fuenmayor. 

The exhibition was made possible with the assistance of the Swiss embassy.