Martin Assig

Martin Assig, Rohkunstbau 2009

"As animal generation proceeds from that which is not animal, entity from non-entity, so, by a retrograde course, entity, by corruption, is resolved into non-entity, whence that in animals, which was last created, fails first and that which was first, fails last."
From: William Harvey, On The Motion Of The Heart And Blood In Animals, 1628 (translated by Robert Willis)

Martin Assig’s sculptures and paintings speak a simple, emblematic language that could come from a fairy tale. In a graphic way, he creates seemingly archaic worlds in which one immediately feels at home. Yet the complexity of his work is rooted in a continuing, indefatigable search for the meaning of human existence, with a view of the here and now largely directed to our material world. In this sense, his sculptures of houses and churches have to be set against the awareness of the homelessness of our human consciousness; they are directed to our own unexplained inwardness, an inner life that enables cultures to rise and fall and yet at the same time remains our most profound mystery. For his painting and paper works, Assig primarily uses an encaustic technique, a method familiar to the Ancient Egyptians. The application of wax gives the works a half-lucid transparency and, in this way, lends them a transcendence of their own.

For Rohkunstbau, Assig has created powerful sculptures and drawings informed by the myth of the legendary Atlantis, its idealistic body politic and the fantasies linked to it. People have been preoccupied with this ideal for centuries, yet Assig takes simple forms such as a tower, a house, or a mausoleum to express its fascination. These shapes become inscribed with such contraries as standstill and progress, or construction and deconstruction – and yet seem to exude a faint aura of mysteriousness. 

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2008 Westwerk Havelhaus, Volker Diehl Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2006 Glück im Tropfen, Jablonka Gallery, Cologne, Germany
2004 Lieder/Songs, Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
2001 Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
2000 Martin Assig, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

Selected Group Exhibitions
2008 spot on, Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, Germany
2007 Symbolismus und die Kunst der Gegenwart, Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, Germany
2005 (my private) Heroes, MARTa Herford, Germany
2005 Sammelleidenschaften, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany
1990 GegenwartEwigkeit, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany