Markus Sixay

Chouakri Brahms

“Girls need modems.” “I wish I was as sensitive as Marcel Proust.” “Peanut butter on a very expensive Persian carpet.” “Far too ambitious.” “Adieu avant-garde” (opening a Manzoni shit and flushing it down the toilet). “David Hasselhoff poster from the late ’80s cut into pieces by Liam Gillick and rearranged by Sarah Morris.” “I made my first million at the age of sixteen.” “Whoomp . . . there it is.”

Welcome to the world of Markus Sixay. The Berlin-based artist has made a name for himself with simple comiclike drawings featuring such musings and many more: thoughts from the frustrated genius, lines from the procrastinating loser, nasty observations about the fabulous art world, and way too many ideas for artworks, from the outlandish to the pathetic. While haunted by all-too-human preoccupations, Sixay’s line contours never show any human figures but rather the props and settings for endless art projects. As the hundreds of drawings he’s done demonstrate, the procrastinator can indeed be prolific, the creative genius vulnerable in his attempts to live up to his own reputation.

For this exhibition Sixay expanded his ideas from the confines of a white page to the space of the gallery. Nothing was lost in the translation. As if to highlight the shift from two to three dimensions, Sixay welcomed visitors with his weight in confetti. I am prepared for you, 2003, consists of about 331 pounds of the fluffy stuff spread across the entire gallery floor. In this constantly changing sculpture, the body of the artist was transformed into a colorful landscape of paper snowdrifts—kickable, throwable, even edible, if you’re feeling up to it.

Not one to forget the walls, Sixay splashed eighteen cans of Coca-Cola Light on them to create Can’t beat the feeling, 2003. The wall painting seemed meant to keep up the party mood of the confetti, but maybe the peanut-butter idea would have worked better here. Using confetti as a scale or deploying a soft drink as paint, Sixay seems to explore the possibilities of transubstantiation in the era of consumerism, where the organic body has become interchangeable with the products it consumes and where refreshment can become anything from a feeling to a high-modernist artwork. Sixay’s sculptures and drawings, however celebratory and cheeky, always carry a melancholic undertone reminiscent of J.J. de Grandville’s scenarios of industrialized paradise. The artist marks not only his exclusion from a world of plenty but also his instrumentalization at the hands of too many commodities.

The video on off on off on off on off on off on off on off on off on off on off, 2002, moves from the world of commodities to media spectacles by encapsulating an evening in front of the television. Sixay filmed the luminescent flash that appears on the television screen right after the set is first turned on or off. The beginning and the end of a viewing session appear in ten short sequences—the untraceable leftovers of news, talk shows, sitcoms, and made-for-TV movies. The artist pays homage to an image that appears on every television screen and yet has somehow managed to escape the media’s attention. Ultimately, the glowing on-off flashes function as bookends for television; one can only guess how many shows and how much time have passed between them.

Jennifer Allen