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TIME MACHINES – ON DRAWING – VIRTUAL SPAR – St. Petersburg Art Residency

In October I started an online Residency at VIRTUAL SPAR, St. Petersburg Art Residency. I’m currently writing a series of essays about my work during 2020.

Typologie_Inseln | 50 x 70 cm | Tusche und Bleistift auf Papier | 2019 | Foto: Walter Bayer

Typologie_Inseln | 50 x 70 cm | Tusche und Bleistift auf Papier | 2019 | Foto: Walter Bayer


Typologie_Körper 1 | 50 x 70 cm | Tusche und Bleistift auf Papier | 2019 | Foto: Walter Bayer

Typologie_Körper 1 | 50 x 70 cm | Tusche und Bleistift auf Papier | 2019 | Foto: Walter Bayer

Drawing is a visual way of thinking. It is an interaction process. The line forms the thought, the thought forms the line. It is a direct process, each drawing thinks itself once. In a way this process can be seen as a linear one: The abstract or figurative drawing forms itself in an ongoing process shaped by the line, as a trace of the thought, or more, as a direct visualization and specification of the thought.Nina-Annabelle-Maerkl_Typologies_Selected-works-from-series_2019_photo-Walter-Bayer_-5_1



















The drawing shows the visual form of a concept within the brain, described as concetto interno. This thought, which occured in the renaissance contains the core of meaning of a drawing.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Paare_Ink on paper, wood_50 x 70 cm_2019_2 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Paare_Ink on paper, wood_50 x 70 cm_2019_1 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Paare_Ink on paper, wood_50 x 70 cm_2019_





































The drawing holds in itself both the concept of linear time perception – in which you can describe the temporal experience as a movement forwards along with the drawing process – and the concept of a simultaneous view combining past, present and future – which lies in the possible dialogues between the drawing and the beholder – as all equally real existing dimensions.

The linear way of reading a drawing is closely linked to language: You can look at the drawing in the way it evolves. You can follow the translation process between brain and hand, the process so becomes a narration of its own.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Museum of Happinessl_Ink on paper_140 x 180 cm_2013_ Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Museum of Happiness_whole series_2013_photo Walter Bayer__ 3_1_





































In the second way the drawing becomes something different: In the simultaneous way different elements occur on the paper you are confronted with different states of time at once. The time that passed while the drawing process is not accessible anymore. In this simultaneous view the dimensions of time fall into one. In this sense drawing can be seen as a time machine.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Balancing the Whimsical_Ink on paper, cutouts, brass, cardboard_100 x 70 cm_2015_ Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Balancing the Whimsical_Ink on paper_65 x 50 cm_2015_


The drawing so archives temporal states. It combines traces of reality, memories, different places, parts of cultural and art historic heritage and brings them together within a reality of its own. It gathers different states of forms, objects, protagonists and their (emotional) shapes, organized on the plain white of the paper.

In the reduction of black and white all of these dimensions, possible states and real states, appear equally real.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Scapes_Ink on paper, wood_120 x 80 cm_2016 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Scapes_Ink on paper, wood_120 x 80 cm_2013_Detail Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Scapes_Ink on paper, wood_120 x 80 cm_2013 Nina Annabelle Märkl_Scapes 5_60 x 80 cm_2014



In October I started an online Residency at VIRTUAL SPAR, St. Petersburg Art Residency. I’m currently writing a series of essays about my work during 2020.

The Inside of the Outside of the Inside – Drawings and Etchings

During my time at the “Cranach Stipendium”, as residency artist in Wittenberg this summer, I worked on two projects:

The “Two Sides” project described above and a project, in which referred to the place I stayed at:

Nina Annabelle Märkl_work in progress 2, 2020 Nina Annabelle Märkl_work in progress 3, 2020 Nina Annabelle Märkl_work in progress 1, 2020


A residency stipend experience always contains a mixture of different dimensions.

The first dimension is the reflection of the things I take with me, as a starting point and an inner concept – it’s the own world inside.

The second dimension is what I find. There can be preparation through research, but the original encounter is something absolutely different. It requires awareness – it’s the world outside.

The third dimension could be described as a synthesis between the inside and the outside, the space which is created out of the things I brought and the things I found. It is a new space of perception opening up and each of these new spaces is unique and precious.

The work I developed is a work about this connection of different spheres.

It consists of a series of drawings and prints.

The drawings:

  1. In March and in April I drew different grids with pencil on paper. I always filled the whole sheet of paper. I guess this was also to some part lockdown meditation.
  1. In August I translated the grid of the floor at the residency place, the former studio of Lucas Cranach, through drawings and folds into a spatial structure. The studio is the place in which the transformation process of an artwork take place. I decided to work with the ephemeral structures of the floor and translate them into possible spaces, somehow to give shape to the invisible components of the material space I physically moved in.
  1. I transferred that spatial structure onto the grids. In a third step I combined both layers with drawings of   abstract sculptural constellations which I drew and photographed during my walks in Wittenberg: Coincidental findings, drapery, fragmented things which unintendedly looked like parts of installations.

Nina Annabelle Märkl_Drawings_2, 70 x 50 cm, 2020 Nina Annabelle Märkl_Drawings_1, 70 x 50 cm, 2020





































The prints:

  1. I made etchings from the spatial drawings described above.
  2. I combined them with drawings of sculptural findings.
  3. I perforated the paper and added an irregular grid made of spring steel and magnets.

Nina Annabelle Märkl_Etchings_1, 30 x 21 cm, 2020 Nina Annabelle Märkl_Wired etchings and drawings_Detail 2, 65 x 80 x 5 cm, 2020 Nina Annabelle Märkl_Wired etchings and drawings_2, 65 x 80 x 5 cm, 2020 Nina Annabelle Märkl_Wired etchings and drawings_1, 65 x 80 x 5 cm, 2020 Nina Annabelle Märkl_Wired etchings and drawings_Detail1, 65 x 80 x 5 cm, 2020





TWO SIDES – VIRTUAL SPAR, St. Petersburg Art Residency

In October I started an online Residency at VIRTUAL SPAR, St. Petersburg Art Residency. I’m currently writing a series of essays about my work during 2020.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_9_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_8_2020





Drawing is a direct and radical medium: The line clearly decides between the substantial matters and insignificant elements. You can’t step back behind the drawn line. Reduced to black and white physical and immaterial things, allegorical and real matters, are perceived in a simultaneous way within the entity of a drawing. The white space of the paper both develops and swallows its protagonists – it is both a space of relief and a dystopic place.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_7_2020I started the series of objects in winter and recurred to it this year in spring. These works have accompanied me during the whole year until now, as the series is not finished yet. Creating the objects through sewing and needlework is the meditative part of the work, working on the drawing is both a conceptual, intentional and an intuitive process. The line reflects itself during this process.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_5_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_3_2020











The works consist of rests of kimono fabrics which I bought in Tokyo during a residency stay last year. I seamed the fabric rests with ribbons of different color, covered the front with semitransparent Japanese paper and added a cutout drawing, which I fixed with magnets. The impression of the works shifts between the appearance of banners, tapestry and objects with a ritual connotation, which cannot be specified.

The objects are settled in between different cultural traditions and in between different media.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_6_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_2_2020


On the images you can see some of these objects from both sides and the way I started to install them in my studio.

They are placed like banners or tapestry on black and red aluminum sticks which allows the beholder to see them from both sides.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_Installation_1_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_1_2020Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Two sides_Installation_4_2020
























The body of work is connected to an installation I made at 500 m museum in Sapporo for the exhibition “Sister City Brother Project Sapporo Munich”.

The exhibition showed works by five artists from Munich. The photos shows the installation in one of the exhibition spaces: A 12 meters wide showcase situation in public space. The installation shows a tableau of 69 drawings which are placed in three rows. They consist of three series of drawings forming a rhythm between figurative and abstract parts. From far away the installation reminds of the notation for a piece of music, composed for three instruments or voices.

9_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Japan_Gessamt 1_2019 8_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Japan_Gesamt_2019 1_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Japan_1_2019















All works: 42 x 30 cm, ink on paper, partially cutouts










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1: Series of about 20 drawings consisting of two layers, which are fixed with a small distance between each other and to the wall. Some of the compositions are completely abstract. Some others have an abstract layer on the top and a figurative layer underneath which can be never be seen in total but only in a fragmented way. Because of the distance you see some slight shadows on the layer underneath that occur from the cutout  parts.

2: Series of drawings derived from ephemeral everyday life experiences and constellations which are isolated and combined to a new scene mixed with fragments of cultural and art historic quotes. These scenes show constellations between figures and objects, stage-like settings or nonlinear narrative structures.

3: Series of 30 drawings showing different kinds of owls. The owls become anthropomorphic through the way they are abstracted from their original appearance.



Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Searching for a home Panorama_2006

In October I started an online Residency at VIRTUAL SPAR, St. Petersburg Art Residency. I’m currently writing a series of essays about my work during 2020.



In this post I would like to go back to works from about 10 or 15 years ago, which are keyworks for my work now, referring to the dioramas and objects I showed some days ago.

The work “Searching for a home” is one of my first works that included drawing into space. It contains topics of further concern: The observer’s spatial involvement, the fragmentary view on the world, loss of orientation and subjective structures for orientation, models of pictorial comprehension of world in interconnection between art historical tradition and contemporary subjective reflection like the cabinet of curiosities, the diorama and the panorama.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Searching for a home Panorama_2006_The images you see show a walkable panorama which invites the beholder to step on the platform where one finds him/herself in the center of a drawing.

The round drawing sketched on a paper web consists of a subjective choice of motif, narrative fragments and modular components of urban architecture, not from a panoramic view, but rather as a spatial face-to-face. It thereby becomes a sculptural work.


Additionally, the movement of the observer is limited to her/his own bodily movement; the motor which makes the outer round drawing go by the observer, is not directable at all nor is the arrangement of the cut out windowlike segments of the inner drawing, which open the view on the outer space. The observer only manages to direct her/his view, the order, the inner and outer drawing, which overlap each other and thereby the sequence of the mechanical film-like narrative elements.

The space is defined by objects, people, relations and the fiction that lies in between those dimensions.


Preceding my work with the panorama, the decision to enclose the movement of the observer was made by using paper webs to stage large-scale drawings. The complete drawing can only be realized from a distance, by approaching the details become visible, but the overall view disappears. The change of perspective and the thereby connected structural modification of the personal orientation as well as the blank space are factors which are necessary for my exposure to my works on and with the third dimension.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_cabinet_Galerie DINA4 Projekte 2009 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Installation view_Galerie der Kuenstler 2010_Platform 2010


The installation “Cabinet” shows a modular interaction between drawings and objects made of welded steel. Both objects and drawings change their meaning according to the perspective from which they are perceived.


Nina Annabelle Maerkl_installation view_Galerie der Kuenstler 2010Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Small world_2008

Both the dioramas which include light and shadow and the objects which get into dialogue with their surroundings, require motion and the change of perspective to be perceived in total. They so invite the beholder to get into dialogue with his/her own inner possible spaces.



In October I started an online Residency at VIRTUAL SPAR, St. Petersburg Art Residency. I’m currently writing a series of essays about my work during 2020.



0_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_objects 2020






















During pandemic times I came back to one of my original ways of working:

Collecting fragmented objects, objets trouvés, used and useless things in order to transform them into stages for drawings.

The panorama, the diorama and the cabinet of curiosities – models from art history giving a certain view on the world are the basis for the ongoing series of my “dioramas”. These microcosmic stages reflect these concepts showing everyday life scenes creating constellations which go beyond usual ways of perception.

4_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Set-4 5_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Set-5 6_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Set-6








Several layers of drawings with cutouts are scaled behind each other, they both give a spatial dimension to the drawing and emphasize the limits within the perspective of the beholder, as they negate a general overview: There are always hidden parts within the work. An interplay of light and shadow caused by the change of daylight brings the scene into motion.

7_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Set-7








Staged in worn out drawers and boxes the material evokes a haptic moment: it recalls the desire of analogue human beings in a digital world to arrange/organize things in proper order. A recurring topic is the individual being shifting between the poles of autonomy and determination.

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Lockdown times made me first stay at home then stay in the studio. I avoided public transport and went for long walks. I found out that people used their time staying at home to renovate their flats and to get rid of things they did not need anymore, placing them in boxes in front of their homes. A nice habit.

1_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Set-1 3_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Set-3










I started to collect things which I could use for artworks: Bowls of glass, pieces of wood, worn-out drawers, fragments of lamps etc. The microcosm and the small individual world gained a new presence within everybody’s life, the concept of inventing microcosmic scenes in form of dioramas and objects regained a new presence within my work.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Lilie_40 x 40 cm_Tusche auf Papier, Cutouts, Holz_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Stereo_50 x 35 cm_Tusche auf Papier, Cutouts, Messing, Holz_2020







































In June, I had the chance to stay at the “Kunstarkaden Kempten” for a month, an artist-run space with artist in residency studio and an exhibition space. I felt a bit like living in an aquarium as the place was located in a store with wide windows directing to the street. People could see me working from outside. I was quasi moving within my own diorama space creating a series of dioramas. A nice coincidence.


Letztes_Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Automat_28 x 21 x 15 cm_Tusche auf Papier, Cutouts, objet trouve_Box_2020


Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Booklet 1_2020TRANSLATIONS OF LONESOMENESS, IMAGES AND WORDS

In October I started an online Residency at VIRTUAL SPAR, St. Petersburg Art Residency. I’m currently writing a series of essays about my work during 2020.










We can never tell anybody about how we really experience things. There is always a gap in between the words we use and how they are read by our vis a vis.

Words transport associations and memories, they are always translated and filtered individually. Artists use images, to articulate the specific space in between the words and the experience. The following drawings are accompanied by texts.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Booklet 5_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Booklet 4_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Booklet 3_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Booklet 2_2020




























Image and text open up a space that grows in between the things you see and the things you read. The texts are corresponsive to the image and still contain their own spaces and connotations. While translating the written images into English, I thought a lot about translation processes and about the possible spaces that might open up for people from all over the world reading the texts. I thought a lot about how a written image might change its meaning depending on how it is read in different places, with different language and different culture. And if there is something like a core feeling which yet might be transported despite the translation processes. The relevance of articulation, translation and the invention of ways of showing and sharing both our work and our world as artists has become an important challenge during hardcore lockdown times and the enduring pandemic times. How can we develop ways of transporting the genuine feeling of art and art experience? How can we fulfill our destination as artists?

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Drawings 4_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Texts 1_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Drawings 3_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Texts 2_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Drawings 2_2020 Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Texts 3_2020
































We need to talk about things that are important for us both as human beings and as artists and to make our artist worlds visible. That’s why this post is about the project which I started during hardcore lockdown times in April 2020. Each object, each thing, each thought becomes strange and questionable if you stare at it for a long time. And it seems to contain your own existence in a condensed way.

Facing pandemic times means facing yourself. Reflecting yourself, as an artist, as a human being, cocooned inside a clear, sterile and laboratory situation. A clear and precise view on things without depression. Things become whimsical. You begin to build constellations, stories and worlds out of almost nothing. The drawings and texts of the work “Mikroklima” are focused on this experience, without illustrating corona sceneries.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima 0_ 29,7 x 21 cm_Tusche auf Papier_2020












The genre of the still life is the genre of lonesomeness. The drawings show whimsical still life scenes without any human beings, forming a microcosmic narrative by connecting images and aphoristic texts with a fragmented, poetic, laconic and ironic atmosphere. To me writing poetry is quite similar to making an installation:

A poem is like a spatial setting. The space is defined through the relationship between things/images and words. The reader/the beholder individually fills the missing links within the process of reading/dialogue.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima Drawings 1_2020 Mikroklima_Ansicht-Arkaden






































I made this work in April – I was supposed to be at an artist in residency place “Kunstarkaden Kempten” for one month. As could not go there in April I made a drawing and a text each day and sent them to the curatorial team there who installed them in the showcase of the studio space as a growing installation visible for the people passing by. I went for the residency two months later in June. I showed the drawings in real life, made a small DIY edition of the work.

Nina Annabelle Maerkl_Mikroklima 14_ 29,7 x 21 cm_Tusche auf Papier_2020


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