Oliver Mark – Natura Morta
Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, 2017
Photographien von Oliver Mark in Korrespondenz zu Stillleben-Gemälden der Sammlung
Natura Morta, Oliver Mark’s current project, is dedicated to the question of how human beings treat their environment and the natural world, focusing in particular on the animal kingdom as well as the aesthetics and beauty of death. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the still life genre, originally known as natura morta – ‘dead nature’ –, became established as stil leven in Holland and Stillleben in Germany. In this transition, the notion behind the genre shifted from the Latin and Italian meaning. However, if one takes life as existence or being, and still as inactive in the sense of dead, the term continued to express a very similar idea, even if not quite identical. For his present project, Oliver Mark has deliberated chosen the original Latin term as a way of highlighting the contrast between nature = life and lifeless = dead. What we discover in his photographs did once live and, in almost every case, was killed in the prime of life by human hand. Moreover, the natura morta term strongly shifts the focus to the animal and plant kingdoms, placing humanity in the background. Even if, of course, human beings are a part of nature, we are only one small part compared to nature’s vast diversity.
Oliver Mark’s still life photographs were taken in a German customs’ storage room in Bonn where the court exhibits are kept. In his photos, he orchestrates objects confiscated by the customs as classic art still lifes – from leopard skulls and carved ivory to products from crocodile, tortoise or turtle, parts of protected animals and plants, hunting trophies, snakeskin garments, musical instruments from valuable tropical woods, and souvenirs such as sea horses, coral, snails and sea shells.
Oliver Mark presents his works in historic painting frames. In the Paintings Gallery, this generates parallels between the genres of painting and photography, but also between photographic and painted still lifes. Together with Oliver Mark’s photography, the Paintings Gallery is showing nine works from its own collection by artists such as Willem van Aelst, Philips Angel van Middelburg, Abraham van Beyeren, Jan van der Heyden, Maximilian Pfeiler, Abraham Susenir, Jan Weenix, and the successors of Peter Paul Rubens, creating new perspectives on masterpieces of seventeenth-century Dutch art.
In this way, visitors can explore a wide range of associative ideas. Ideally, these produce new and different views of seemingly ‘well-known’ paintings in the collection, or encourage the aesthetic enjoyment of the photographs and lead to reflections on how humanity treats the natural world.
In the Natural History Museum, where a further three groups of Oliver Mark’s photographic works are shown juxtaposed with animal specimens, the focus is on the protection of endangered species. The trade in animal and plant species is regulated under international law, banning many souvenirs from being imported into the signatory countries. The authorities enforce this law under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which protects over 35,000 threatened animals and plants and was ratified by Austria in 1982.
Oliver Mark’s impressive photographs offer space for ideas and associations across a broad spectrum of topics: How do people treat their environment? What so fascinates us about the still life genre? And what distinguishes painting from photography?Julia M. Nauhaus, Director of the Picture Gallery Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Die Rückkehr der Moral
Brigitte Borchhardt-Birbaumer, Wiener Zeitung.
Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, 2017
Photographien von Oliver Mark in Korrespondenz zu Stillleben aus der Sammlung der Gemäldegalerie und Tierpräparaten des Naturhistorischen Museums
ºCLAIRbyKahn Gallery, Munich 2017
Between Skies and Earth
Alvin Langdon Coburn & Oliver Mark
The light and the obscure, the sky and the earth, the ethereal and the corporeal. Such juxtapositions have long formed the essence of the photographer’s art and a mastery of these elements can evoke entire universes of nuance and emotion.
Oliver Mark (b. Germany, 1963) is one of the modern geniuses in the use of these elements; and Alvin Langdon Coburn (b. America, 1882; d. Wales, 1966) possessed such a gift in their use that his work forms the foundation of pictorialist photography. CLAIR Gallery curated an exhibition, Between Skies and Earth, that explored the overt and covert connections between these two celebrated photographers who are separated by more than a century.
CLAIR Gallery presented Between Skies and Earth from March 30, 2017 to June 11, 2017 at Franz-Joseph-Strasse 10 in Munich.
Oliver Mark is renowned for his portraits of aristocrats, artists, and celebrities. His work has been published in magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, while his photographs have been exhibited in museums around the world. More information available at his artist page or on his personal website.Alvin Langdon Coburn was a pioneering figure in photography and an early master of pictoralism. He began taking photographs as a young child and his career spanned more than six decades. His work bears witness to the rise of the great modern cities and he was fascinated by the dynamic complexity of these new urban environments. Coburn had a particular genius for photographing movement, whether it be the eerie play of artificial and natural light at nightfall in New York City or the traces of pedestrians seen from a perch high above a London park. To see more of his work, visit his CLAIR artist page.Anna-Patricia Kahn, 2017
Kehrer Verlag, 2016
Ed. Rainer Vollkommer, Liechtensteinisches Landesmuseum. Text: Lorenz Becker, Philipp Demandt, Aurelia Frick, Barbara Hendricks, Christian Köberl, Julia M. Nauhaus, Michael Schipper, Rainer Vollkommer.
136 pages, 57 ills.
30,4 x 37,5 cm
Ausstellung „Berlin is for Lovers“ in Berlin-Tiergarten: (Halb)nackte Berliner auf Polaroids
Philipp Fritz, Berliner Zeitung.
Lindenau-Museum Altenburg, 2015–2016
In Szene gesetzt: Aus Porträts werden Kleider
A collection of Oliver Mark’s photographs were shown as part of a major portrait exhibition at the Lindenau-Museum in Altenburg, Germany. from October 10, 2015 to April 3, 2016 Mark’s photographs were featured along with paintings by such artists as Domenico Ghirlandaio (15th century) and Michiel van Mierevelt (17th century).
Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, 2014
Aus den Trümmern kriecht das Leben
Portraits von Karl Otto Götz
Im Jahr 2013 hatte der Fotograf Oliver Mark (*1963) die Gelegenheit, den Künstler K.O. Götz (*1914) mehrere Tage in seinem privaten Lebensumfeld zu besuchen. Es entstanden eindringliche und intime Fotografien, die K.O. Götz ungeschminkt und sehr facettenreich zeigen – stolz und nachdenklich, aber auch zerbrechlich und zart, gezeichnet von einem 100-jährigen schaffensreichen Künstlerleben. Begleitet werden die 18 ausgestellten Bilder von sieben berührenden Gedichten, die K.O. Götz über mehrere Jahre schrieb. Alle Fotografien und Gedichte publizierte Oliver Mark in dem Künstlerbuch „Aus den Trümmern kriecht das Leben“ (2013). Wir danken Rissa und der K.O. Götz und Rissa-Stiftung herzlich für die Ermöglichung dieser Ausstellung.
Behind the Lens: Oliver Mark’s Astounding Portraits of Your Favorite Artists
Nadja Sayej, Noisey – VICE.