Maxim Brandt creates in an absurd, poetic reality that radiates an atmospheric mystery. He describes his visual worlds as poetic staging. He is moving between reality and fiction, between the present and reminiscence. Everyday motives are deconstructed and recombined again with each other. His painting process, in which he continuously changes colors and lighting conditions, adds new requisites or reduces the composition. The whole process from a sparking idea to creating to looking at his work is absolute poetry to Maxim Brandt. Two of his poetic artworks, “Genius Loci” and “Angel of Fake” are on exhibition at POP-UP.

Maxim Brandt, Genius Loci, 2022

What three words would you choose to describe your exhibited work at POP-UP? 

Poetic, absurd, post-ironic. 

What is your work process like? Do you have a routine when painting? 

In the beginning there is a rough idea for a picture, which I then fix and visualize with the help of photographs or a photo collage. I often start from the background and arrange objects as if on a stage until I am satisfied with the composition and the semantic connections between these objects in the picture. Thus, it is never a routine, it is like writing poetry - every poem is different.   

How do you choose colors for your works? 

I would say the other way around: the colors choose me. 

What does your work stand for? 

Poetry is very important for me in my art, it stands in contrast to common sense, logic, pragmatism and is closer to metaphysics, to emotional experiences, closer to irrationality. It is important for me to break through logic or to go beyond the limits of realism. 

How do you overcome self-doubt? 

Jumping into cold water is fun. Doubt disappears when you get going. 

What inspires you?  

I'm inspired by old Soviet and American cartoons, pop culture, religion, neuroscience, as well as cities and nature - a walk can generate so many new ideas. 

What reactions do you hope to receive by your observers? 

My art is biographical and very intimate. It feels like slowly undressing in front of an audience, at the end of which there is a reaction and a dialogue - or not. Through a poetic staging on the canvas, I aim to make the viewer think or even research. 

Maxim Brandt’s artpieces are on display at POP-UP at Französische Straße 48 from April 28th to May 1st. Get your ticket here!