Axel Malik was born in 1953. Since 1989 he has written diaries. Everyday, his pen leaves rows of small, condensed traces of writing on the paper, which he terms «signs». Each «sign» is a confirmation of events of great intensity. Although they have no significance from a linguistic point of view, these lines can be «read» by tracing. As traces of writing movements the signs mean nothing more than the simple writing movements themselves. They have no significance beyond their own presence. Even though Malik did not work with paint, it is possible to speak here of abstract characters which are auto-referential in the same way as are abstract painting. Malik’s terrain is that of the no-man’s-land between writing/script and pictures/images. There are books and scrolls as well as picture formats which given their exceptional width and length are reminiscent of inscribed banners. When looking at such «pictures» from varying distances, sometimes you see writing and sometimes a picture. From afar, an undulating, inconsequential length of woven cloth with writing seems to be a picture but closer up it takes on the appearance of horizontal script, i.e., abstract script. Roughly speaking, Malik’s work is partially in the tradition of a certain type of Asian calligraphy (Yu–Ishi 1916–1985) and partially in the tradition of «écriture automatique»—the method used by Henri Michaux (1899–1984) and André Masson (1896–1987) which brought subconscious content to light while eliminating the intervention of the conscious mind. Although it is some pre-conscious stimulus that triggers Malik’s scripts, the act of writing it down occurs in full consciousness and also (again unlike «automatic writing») according to set rules. The characters are written next to each other like printed letters. They are of the same type and size, they are in rows and they follow a predetermined format. Superficially, his work is reminiscent of Roman Opalka’s endless rows of numbers and of Hanne Darboven’s oeuvre. The latter two artists render the use of time visible within the artwork, a dimension which also plays a role in Malik’s diaries. The source of energy behind the movements of Malik’s scripts lies deeper than with the gestural painting of «art informel». It seems to be more a matter of general biological instinct than individual psychology and therefore more objective than subjective. The video shows the act of writing: gliding, dancing, stumbling, speeding and eagerly waiting for the pen which hovers over the paper like a falcon. The purely acoustic work «schreibenhören» («hearing writing») gives an idea of the furious speed of writing—the orgiastic discharge of energy during the working process which leaves the artist totally exhausted. Burkhard Brunn

  1953 geboren in Jugenheim
lebt in Oberried bei Freiburg

Exhibitions (selection)
2003 Dombibliothek Hildesheim / 2000 Museum Schloss
Wilhelmsburg / 1999 Kunstverein Neckar-Odenwald; Museum Für Moderne Kunst, Mittelhof / 1998 Kunstforum Neumarkt/Egna (Italien); Forum im Dominikanerkloster, Frankfurt/M. / 1997 Kunstverein Kirchzarten; San Gregorio Art Gallery, Venedig / 1996 Städtische Galerie Aulendorf / 1994 Städtische Galerie Schwarzes Kloster, Freiburg

Buch 7,»Seite 6219«, 1994
29,5 x 20,5 cm