Marc Bauer’s Mal Ȇtre / Performance is a new body of work commissioned jointly by Drawing Room and De La Warr Pavilion and is the artist’s first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery. Bauer’s chosen medium is drawing which he uses here to make small- and large-scale works on paper, a wall drawing and an animation.
Mal Ȇtre / Performance features the motif of people on boats throughout history, from ancient Greece to contemporary media footage. All of the works are drawn in graphite, and images range from those inspired by fifteenth century Catholic ex-voto paintings, to Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, up to Aquarius, the boat that rescued migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in 2018. Using the slow and cumulative process of drawing and erasing, Bauer’s project brings the past into the present in his investigation of humanity. He says:
This new installation of drawings is an attempt to understand the relationship between images, to see what impact they have on our perception of reality, and how they condition our way of thinking and define our identities.
The exhibition title, Mal Ȇtre, roughly translates from the French to ‘being in a bad way’. This condition unites images of people in transit across seas today and in the distant past. Mal Ȇtre also refers to a sense of unease the viewer may experience when viewing these images, with Performance referring to the various roles we adopt.
Marc Bauer describes drawing as ‘a way for me and the viewer, to comprehend reality in all its complexity – subjectively, politically, symbolically – and show how history, memory and shifting power structures shade the present.’
The exhibition is a collaboration between Drawing Room (London) and De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill-on-Sea). It will be on exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion February – May 2020 and FRAC Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand) in Summer 2020.Marc Bauer, Untitled, (Detail 2 Aquarius), 2018. Pencil on paper, 50 cm x 50 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Peter Kilchmann