Marcus Neustetter

South Africa

Marcus Neustetter is an artist and cultural activist born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1976. He has produced art projects in galleries as well as in public and virtual domains that are often at the intersections of art, science and technology, ranging from drawing, sculpture, installation, performance, video and multimedia projects to site-specific and socially-engaged interventions. He is the co-director of the contemporary art production collaboration The Trinity Session since 2000 and is currently executive director of ISEA2018 Durban. He is also developing an Art-Science Research program as an adjunct professor with the Nelson Mandela University. He earned his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2011.


HD Video, 6’ 20”, silent

The video work Syria shows Syrian artifacts and every day object in the archives of the Weltmuseum in Vienna, Austria. This work is an extension of the body of work titled Occupy that deals with the artist’s personal reflection on the African continent, its appropriation and the migration of objects and people. With thanks to Dr. Steinmann, Kurator, Weltmuseum Vienna, Neustetter produced and showed his video piece Syria Exploration in Vienna in September 2016. The piece was produced at a time where the Viennese media was reporting on stolen Syrian artifacts financing the war through sales on the black market. These black market purchases are said to be happening in the very countries that are refusing war refugees. Neustetter spent time in Vienna filming Syrian objects in historic collections as a way of meditating on this disjointed and disturbing phenomenon. Syria was produced as a response to a Syrian refugee in a recent workshop in Austria expressing that “the West wants our treasures but not our people” and describing the landscape of destruction back home.

In this work, notice the landscape formations of the shadows and imagine the places where these objects come from. the artist urges you to share these imaginations with the person next to you and ask how they read the work, who might recognize the same (or different) abstract landscapes and objects.

Commission by Weltmuseum Vienna and KulturKontakt Austria, with thanks to Dr. Steinmann, Curator.

Installed on building façade and inside Stavanger Concert Hall.

Image: Marcus Neustetter, Syria (2016), HD Video, 6’ 20”, silent, video still. Syrian artifacts and every day object in the archives of the Weltmuseum in Vienna, Austria. Courtesy of the artist.