Marek Ranis (Polish, born 1968)
I am interested in our perception of current issues; I want my art to address changes in the environment and our presence in it. In my work I look at large social and political events, ecology or geographical and political borders, from a larger cultural and historical perspective. I see my work as an invitation to contemplate our times; some call this “weltschmerz” (world grief) and inspiration for a hopeful future. Although I do not believe that art can change the world, I am convinced that it can help raise awareness.
In my past environmental installations as well as in current project, I am inspired by the Romantic perception of Beauty and the Sublime as defined by Burke, Kant, and Schopenhauer. In particular, I am interested in transitional moments between the two. Glacial ice or icebergs offered me perfect examples of this transition, moving between pleasure and the malignancy that can ultimately cause destruction.
Subject of destruction and reconstruction is always coming back in my works, like meanders of melancholy and hopes. This constant duality of our experience could be also seen in relationship between the Sublime and the instability of the postmodern, postcolonial world. The Sublime may symbolize the reality of changes happening around us, and and the difficulties we have grasping the truth about it.
Born in fast-evolving and mercurial Central-Eastern Europe, Marek currently lives in the United States, and pursues a career that is global, both in its geographical range and its conceptual scope. He teaches sculpture as an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the Department of Art and Art History.