Markus Selg’s Mind in the Cave

Review by Molly Cranston

ORACLE (PYTHIA), 2021 UV-print on aluminium dibond 100 x 75 cm, framed

“So you find it hard to be by yourself? Can you see your hands? Can you see your feet? What about the rest of your body? Where is it?” – excerpts from Selg’s “I AM (VR)

Mind In the Cave marks Markus Selg’s eighth solo exhibition of works at Galerie Guido W. Baudach. Selg presents a small and obsidious installation of artefacts and fractal paintings, arranged in a catacomb-like display, forming a contextual pathway into his first virtual reality production “I AM (VR).”

Selg invites attendees on an archeological quest inside a cave of digital self-hood. In a dry and temperate climate, the shade of Selg’s cave walls are covered with glitching fossils and melting glyphs, puzzles and amulets. In the gallery, bygone mountains and cityscapes multiply infinitely under cool, mummified figures and thick splashes of fuchsia embalming fluid. The neon yellow skirting around the room feels like a gentle, clinical nod to Oz’s Yellow Brick Road, illuminating the route to an alternate or preferable reality. 

As an early pioneer of digital art in Germany, Selg has been using algorithms to create the proliferating Mandelbrot patterns that have become so characteristic of his work since the 1990s. Now with his first foray into virtual reality, “I AM (VR)”, Selg considers questions of simulation and bodily erasure: “Do we exist in the physical world or do we exist primarily within the stories our brains tell themselves. Who or what is hallucinating these stories? How do we access a reality outside of our limited sensory perceptions? If we live in our own simulation, how can we interact with others? How do we distinguish between reality and simulation? Is there even a difference?” Selg’s mind cave becomes a labyrinthine metaphor for personal history and a shrine to bodily existence, decomposing or preserved. At the end of May, the gallery will host “I AM (VR)” in their new format Backstage.

installation view

LA GRAN EXPANSION, 2018, UV-print on aluminium dibond, 150 x 100 cm I 59 x 39 1/3 in

Archaic Revival Series: FRACTAL FACE, 2021, UV-print on cellulose Polyester, UV-print on aluminium dibond
150 x 40 x 40 cm I 59 x 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in

SCULPTING IN TIME, 2021 Sublimation
on fabric
152 x 200 cm

Archaic Revival Series: Dream Stele (Thutmose IV) fractal simulation, 2018, UV-print on cellulose Polyester and aluminium dibond, 188 x 40 x 40 cm I 74 x 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in

UV-print on aluminium dibond 82 x 75 cm, framed

All photos courtesy the artist & Galerie Guido W. Baudach
Photo: Roman März