And Art offered alternatives, for those who were not prisoners to the mass media

– Umberto Eco


On Friday 16th May The WiliBender Transit Festival of Temporary Art Berlin/Bergheim 2014 opened its second series of Wow123 – aka Markus Genesius, exhibitions entitled Phantom Images – the show, having run for a month previously in Heidelberg, can currently be found in Potsdamerstrasse 98a Galerie WiliBender-Berlin until 31st May.

Markus Genesius indulges in distortion, and invokes the hyperreal, by adorning Phantom Images with a visceral feast of emotive nostalgia; the strength of this sentimentalism is firmly established within the use of colour and patterns, demonstrably reminiscent of television test screens.

The SMPTE Colour Bars and test cards bear the engineering connotations of achieving video, signal (and therefore visual) perfection, and yet those of a particular generation identify the test pattern with a welcomed familiarity, unrelated to the superiority of contemporary digital technology; the composition and original configurations of black and white field patterns, grids and grey scales are then fragmented, expanded and intensified by Genesius, further augmenting the deconstructed approach.

And yet Phantom Images is sumptuous in its multifaceted postmodern presentation: the arrangements of defined and abstracted forms, examples of popular culture from the 1980’s, and the transition beyond the boundary of the canvas, all combine to shrewdly manipulate the gaze of the viewer – using the origins of an aesthetic designed for when there was in fact nothing to broadcast at all.

This distortion of functionality and origin of meaning resonates strongly with the superficial nature of media representation and the hyperreal:


Once upon a time there were mass media, and they were wicked, of course, and there was a guilty party. Then there were the virtuous voices that accused the criminals. And Art (ah, what luck!) offered alternatives, for those who were not prisoners to the mass media.

Well it’s all over now. We have to start again from the beginning, asking one another what’s going on.” – Umberto Eco


Markus Genesius embraces the impermanence of this transition, and thus creates an installation of absolute clarity and assured distinction.


Kristina Lewis-Shipley