Markus Karstieß (b.1971, works Düsseldorf) is an internationally recognized artist and curator. From 2008-12 he curated Kunstverein Schwerte, Ruhrgebiet, Germany with Christian Freudenberger. Karstieß also collaborates with musician Detlef Weinrich.
Conceived by Christian Freudenberger and Markus Karstieß in response to the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, ‘Corridor Plateau’ is based on an artist-led, collective approach to the creation of a 'Gesamtkunstwerk' - or a total environment in which every part is also a key to the whole. Bringing paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures together in an interior space alongside furniture, wall-paintings and an artists’ LP, each manifestation of ‘Corridor Plateau’ engages with current debate on the relationship between artistic and curatorial authorship, and questions the nature of the collective, as well as conventions of stand-alone exhibition practice.
The project’s LP operates as a connecting principle: integral to each exhibition it plays on a turntable in the space, bringing together, in ‘Corridor Plateau I’, music by Detlef Weinrich, a cover by Michael Bauer, an inner-sleeve by Peyman Rahimi and labels by Thomas Schütte.
Now an on-going series, in which the collective and the Gesamtkunstwerk migrate in changing constellations as an independent exhibition format, ‘Corridor Plateau’ has generated two exhibition publications (by Kuntsverein Schwerte, 2011 and Gallery DREI, 2013) and an LP release (Apparent Extent, Cologne (2011)). A curatorial framework for group exhibitions, this on-going project has thus far been realised in four exhibitions:
Corridor Plateau I
Featuring works by Michael Bauer, Peyman Rahimi, Thomas Schütte and Detlef Weinrich. Kunstverein Schwerte, Germany (2011)
Corridor Plateau II
Featuring works by Michael Bauer, Peyman Rahimi, Christian Freudenberger, Markus Karstieß, Detlef Weinrich, Seb Koberstädt, Andrew Palmer. Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK (2011-12)
Corridor Plateau III
Featuring works by Michael Bauer, Christian Freudenberger, Alexandra Hopf, Hannah Höch, Alex Jasch, Markus Karstieß, Esther Kläs, Konrad Klapheck, Markus Saile, Victor Vasarely and Detlef Weinrich. Gallery DREI, Cologne, Germany (2013)
Corridor Plateau IV
Featuring works by Paul Becker, William Cobbing, Bob Cobbing, Christian Freudenberger, Nadia Hebson, Hannah Höch, Alexandra Hopf, Alex Jasch, Markus Karstieß, Andrew Palmer, Ulrich Pester, Eddy Robinson, Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan and Detlef Weinrich. Northern Charter, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2013)
‘Mirror Fall Down Mirror Gone Down’ was an installation of raku-fired ceramic mirrors, for Ancient & Modern, London.
Informed by Plato's Allegory of the Cave on the one hand, and the lyrics of Captain Beefheart's Mirror Man on the other, in this project Karstieß developed a contemporary yet archaic 'cave-space' to house works, addressing ideas of ephemerality and the search for self-awareness.
This ‘cave-space’ comprised a 1.9 x 6m dark anthracite-coloured corridor-like space, either side of which were hung ten 30 x 40 cm ceramic, raku-fired relief ‘mirrors’ (known as such on account of their lustre-glazed surfaces, which reflected light). This space opened on to slightly wider areas in which a central fetish sculpture was placed, each modelled directly by pressing and pulling clay by hand and sharing a similarly reflective form. The works' titles, e.g. Dark Star and Solaris, alluded to the cosmos and the futuristic, whilst the natural material and controls of clay and raku echoed primitive, rural technical means, and implied an almost alchemical process.
This inventive application of simple, primitive methods of clay modelling, combined with traditional raku firing and lustre-glazes, created a distinctive installation for a city-centre contemporary art space.
‘Mirror Fall Down Mirror Gone Down’ also thematically and technically considered the potential of tradition to form a relation with the contemporary and futuristic. Engaging with broad contemporary discourse on the ephemeral, the project built on Karstieß's previous contributions, e.g. his inclusion in Museum Villa Rot's Red Hot – Ceramics in Contemporary Art, to extend the specialist field of contemporary ceramics and its on-going emergence from a relatively marginalised position to one embraced within the 'expanded field'.
The resulting exhibition at Ancient & Modern (28 June – 4 August 2012) was accompanied by a limited edition letterpress poster.
Karstieß is currently working on a number of exhibitions, including ‘Corridor Plateau V’, to be held at the Autocenter, Berlin and solo shows at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK; Hatton Gallery Newcastle, UK; D.E.T.H, Deutsches Keramikmuseum/Hetjens-Museum, Düsseldorf, Haus Lange/Esters Krefeld, Museum Morsbroich Leverkusen and Mediterranean Kunsthalle, Beyond Entropie, Sardinia in 2014.
For more information on Karstieß’ work, visit:
For more information on the projects mentioned above, visit: