IN CONVERSATION WITH MORITZ MOLL & MAEVE DOYLE
February 15, 2024

IN CONVERSATION WITH MORITZ MOLL & MAEVE DOYLE

Making his Maddox debut at our Gstaad gallery this February, Moritz Moll’s intimate depictions of friends and family, captured in quiet, unobserved moments, are inspired by experiences and memories from his childhood.

On the eve of the exhibition opening, our Artistic Director, Maeve Doyle, sat down with the contemporary figurative artist from Munich, Moritz Moll, to find out more about his practice, his purpose and the pervading sense of nostalgia that accompanies his works.

Moritz Moll in front of Maddox Gallery in Gstaad

 

Maeve Doyle: Did you always want to be an artist, Moritz?

Moritz Moll: My mother always wanted security for me, so she encouraged me to pursue a career that offered that. The person who really understood my ambition to become an artist was my aunt. An architect and very free-spirited, she knew the path of an artist and where it might lead for me.

MD: Before you became a full-time artist, you were a graphic designer. What compelled you to make the transition?

Moritz Moll: I first studied communication design, which led me to working for a marketing agency. It was during my time there that I applied to study fine art in Munich. I always felt very restricted creating for clients and had a strong desire to be as free as I am right now. It was after I graduated that I decided it was now or never, so I quit my job to focus fully on art.

The artist at work in his studio

 

MD: What influences you culturally and artistically? 

Moritz Moll: My practice is shaped by my graphic design studies. It was the first time I had come into contact with people who were designing visually, and from a colour perspective, the way I approach my paintings is very similar to my graphic designs. In terms of artists, Alex Katz has been a big influence, and Matisse of course. Culturally, the great German painters Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and Anselm Kiefer have also played their part in making me the artist I am today. These world-famous artists are renowned in the history of the visual arts in Germany, and while you don’t see the melancholy and darkness of their work in my paintings, there is something to do with being an artist in Germany that I can really relate to. 

MD: Is it true that books are also a major influence on your work?

Moritz Moll: I’m a big fan of coming-of-age stories and films, such as Stephen King’s It and Ödön von Horváth’s 1937 novel Youth Without God, a classic piece of German literature. The subject of youth is a preoccupation of mine — that period where you are in the process of becoming an adult and trying things for the first time. You fail, you fall, you get up and you try again. A big part of my artistic practice is being nostalgic. I am very sympathetic to the period of one’s life when you are neither a child nor an adult and in the process of losing your innocence.

Close ups of Moritz Moll working on his piece Downhill II

 

MD: How did you prepare for your solo show in Gstaad?

Moritz Moll:When I’m painting, I never start work straight away. First, I spend time developing the motifs that will appear in my works and building a narrative around them. For Gstaad, I had a collection of winter motifs in my head. I’m constantly mining my childhood for inspiration. The skis you see in my Gstaad paintings are my mother’s old skis, and all the clothes and accessories I sourced myself. Painting is an incredibly intimate experience, and it’s important that I feel closely connected to my work.

MD: The worlds you create are familiar and deeply nostalgic. What do they represent to you?

Moritz Moll: My paintings depict isolated moments of calm and intimacy, with the neutral spaces surrounding my subjects representing an absent state. Ripped out of the moment they’re in, they move like sleepwalkers, with their blanked-out gazes acting like a tunnel into their innermost being. 

MD: And finally, what is art for, exactly, Moritz?

Moritz Moll: Art is meditational. It’s like therapy, with just me and the canvas. In my design agency job, I was always stressed, with very little free time to enjoy. It’s totally different in my studio. I can spend 12 hours a day there and always come out less stressed than when I went in. Art has a way of connecting with people. It might be joyful to one person, decorative to another, while for someone else, it holds deep meaning. I love that people enjoy my art for many different reasons.

MORITZ MOLL: THE GRAND FINALE, 12 February - 25 March 2024
Gstaad

MORITZ MOLL: THE GRAND FINALE

12 February - 25 March 2024
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