You never know with Martin Grandits. The Vienna-based artist has established his position in the scene somewhere in between hyper pop-culture and high-class art. Grandits manages to perceive aesthetics in the most common everyday objects and sees a logo, a beer bench or Austrian street food no longer as something ordinary but as the spark for an artistic idea. Who thought an ordinary Leberkäse-Semmel can be transformed into a piece of art?
Martin Grandits’ art is conceptual, sometimes critical and always ironic. By using humor as a weapon, he manages to bring ease and irony into socio-critical topics. One never knows if Grandits’ art is totally serious, totally ironic or totally judicial. A golden Leberkäse-Semmel, an inflatable Überraschungsei or oversized bathing shoes are some of Grandits’ most prestigious artworks and have been exhibited across Europe, from Austria and Germany to Greece.
With nonchalance, Martin Grandits moves between Tinder and Picasso, usually stopping where you least expect him to. By using various media, ranging from sculpture, textile or paintings, Grandits finds lots of spaces to transform his wit into art. For the edition “God hates Berlin”, he mixes his favorite ingredients into an ironic and critical statement piece of art. It is exclusively available on misa.art during Parallel Vienna Editions from May 12th to May 15th.
What vision stands behind your work?
The essential driving force of my artistic work is the socio-political component. I believe that art, in the sense of a communication vehicle, can reach and influence younger people. Not only is the direct message of a work and the concept behind it important, but also the success and the influence associated with it play a role. Ideally, the young also adopt the ethical stance and values. This opportunity to communicate with young people and also to motivate them to change is a beautiful responsibility that I am happy to take on.
In your art, irony and severity meet. How do you manage that balancing act between those two poles?
Irony and humor are good door openers for uncomfortable and serious topics. In general, irony, especially self-irony, is an excellent way to deal with unpleasant experiences and traumas. I think an artist should serve both poles, that makes him more credible, more authentic.
What was the strangest reaction you received to one of your works?
Good question. Actually, I love negative reactions. There's nothing better than helping critics of my work argue their case.
How does your artistic process look like? How do you start a new project?
At the beginning, there often is a personal experience or a worldly theme, which I work on artistically. Even with mundane topics I try to act from my personal subjective point of view. The artwork then usually functions as a placeholder, as the result of the reappraisal. But the narrative is also important and part of the work. Aesthetics of our trivial culture are also important sources of inspiration. The appealing thing here is the attempt to transcribe the visual language of our everyday culture into contemporary art.
What was your first encounter with art? What made you want to become an artist?
I still can remember that I was in Salzburg visiting a sculpture exhibition. At that time, I was mainly doing graffiti. I helped setting up the exhibition and I remember being blown away by it: the shapes, the colors, these formal gestures! There was a sculpture by Franz West that was incredible. There was also a figure by my later professor Brigitte Kowanz, and abstract sculptures by American artists of the 1980s. I thought about it constantly in the days that followed; it was the same feeling as meeting a wonderful girl. From that moment on I was sure that art must be something very important in my life.
Credits Featured Image: Xandra Linsin
Credits "Leberkässemmel": Johanna Marousek