Brick by Brick into Beauty
Moritz Morbach – Brick by Brick into Beauty
»The magic happens when circles close or new ones emerge, and these moments are very addictive.«
What did you do in your life before you decided to pursue art?
I owe a lot to my art teacher, who recognised my talent and encouraged me. But at that time I was not yet brave enough to pursue this path consistently. I then studied for a teaching degree and actually became a teacher, but soon realised that the whole context was too rigid for me. Along the way, I started taking a goldsmithing course, learned nude drawing and started preparing for an application to study costume design.
Then, while working on the application portfolio for this degree, my husband Armin came into play and helped me to develop the necessary courage to go the extra mile. Armin simply has a wonderful talent for encouraging, pushing and challenging. While he is also my toughest critic, I owe it to him that he took away my fear to consistently dedicate my life to art so gently.
Can you describe the impact this decision has had, or still has, on your life?
An immense effect and also a form of relief, to be honest. A lot of it was new territory, the structure of the days, the focus on a completely different level. The immediacy of the work and the energies that are released are wonderful aspects that I no longer want to miss (smiles).
How did Lego get into your art?
First in a very playful way. I produced a Lego mask for a TUSH production (editor’s note: TUSH is a magazine for Beauty Culture published by Armin Morbach since 2005) that completely covered the face. When I started doing that, it really triggered a lot of emotions in me. I spent hours digging through mountains of Lego bricks that were still in the attic from my childhood. Ultimately, however, I wanted to create something with Lego that could also be framed and hung on the wall. So, I deliberately moved away from the figurative.
It all started with a picture I produced for us at home. The reactions of our guests at home encouraged me to continue there. The interest increased and this opened up a completely new perspective for me. First of all, I produced a sufficiently large pool of images to be able to actually publish and exhibit in the next step. Then I was introduced to Bianca and Volker by »Daniel und die Kunst«, we aligned quickly and the idea for my first exhibition at their gallery was born.
Does the visual concept for your Lego pictures exist before you start placing the bricks? Or is a creative process more of an open-ended one?
For some pictures I have very concrete ideas and calculate analytically which stones I will need and approximately how many. For my lipstick motif, for example. The »Titten-Pizza«, on the other hand, came about by chance, out of a playfulness that actually had a completely different goal.
Sometimes I get into a flow where it’s better to let go. It also happens that you think you’ll never be finished and suddenly, with a brief change of perspective, completely new possibilities appear in the process, almost like a gift.
Is working on objects always a kind of positive retreat or meditation for you?
It starts much earlier. I order Lego by the kilo and also buy at flea markets. After that, I first start sorting through everything and that alone is a pleasant, meditative work in itself. I listen to audio books or classical music and drift off into my very own worlds.
In some of your works you quote Piet Mondrian. Which artists inspire you?
Of course I admire Mondrian for his pioneering spirit and his clarity. But Monet is especially close to my heart, and above all Gustav Klimt. His »Birkenwald« painting is one of my absolute favourites.
Long before your Lego art, you started creating many wonderful one-off pieces, such as masks and decorative elements at the intersection of art and fashion. What did it all start with?
In fact, the masks that I originally made for my application portfolio were the initial spark. The work on the transparent burqa was particularly formative for me, as I consciously addressed ruptures. Masks, if you take a closer look at them, are a central component of identity formation in every culture. A projection surface, a hiding place and at the same time an accentuation.
It’s these contrasts that have always fascinated me and which I also implicitly take up and incorporate in my masks. The mask is a very special kind of jewellery or ornament that I love to play with.
You are currently having an exhibition with your Lego artworks at the gallery “Daniel und die Kunst” in Hamburg. Are you happy with the feedback so far?
Very much so! Of course, I’m still getting used to the situation of being evaluated and questioned in the context of an exhibition and being vulnerable, so to speak. But the positive feedback and the appreciation I have experienced is what money can’t buy.
Additionally the collaboration with Bianca and Volker was a pleasant, almost automatic flow that made it easy for me to be able to present myself for the first time, because I feel incredibly comfortable with them.
What are your plans for the future?
Definitely Lego will be a solid part of my future work, but I think the dimensions of my paintings will get bigger. I’m looking forward to breaking new ground and exploring possibilities.
On the other hand, I will always do masks and one-offs as well, which challenge me in a completely different way. It is a necessary luxury that I gratefully appreciate.
The magic happens when circles close or new ones emerge, and these moments are very addictive (smiles).
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