Stefan Marx

U-Bahnhof Hansaplatz

Thank you for waiting.

No entrance fee, no access restrictions, extensive opening times – it couldn’t be more democratic. A subway station is an ideal exhibition space. Almost subliminally. Not just for the world theater of passers-by, commuters and bums who meet here morning and evening, but also for art.

Marx’s typography (Schriftbilder) is placed where there would otherwise be advertising, the show has the poetic title “16 Hintergleisseiten”. This is the name of the billboards rented out by the BVG.

Stefan Marx “Billboards” are up until January 31st in the Hansaplatz subway station. On February 1st,
Grotto, a space for art and culture, opens at Bartningallee 5, upstairs in the train station building.
You notice from the corner of your eye as you drive in that something is different in this station than usual. Unusual black and white rhythms the light gray mosaic of the train station, which, like the entire Hansaviertel, was created as part of “Interbau 57”. Words and sayings like “Don’t go breaking my heart”, “Adieu wrong plans”, “Bonne nuit – Good night” waft in white letters over a black background.
The monochrome originals by Stefan Marx, actually drawn and inked in the 26 x 36 format, have been transformed into posters ten times as large. Marx, 45, lives in Berlin. With his black and white painting, the illustrator, who was a skater in the 1990s and created designs for record and fashion labels.

“Recently I’ve been feeling my way into written images of languages I don’t speak, says Marx. This is also a reason why he reproduced his first Japanese typeface “Thank you for waiting” again for Hansaplatz. You hear the polite formula all the time in Japan, he says, and it fits into the world of public transport that the carless artist regularly uses anyway. This morning in the subway station, trains seemed to be slowing down and rushing off again every three minutes.
Marx now also dares to use Arabic and Cyrillic script in his comic-like drawings, which are characterized by the do-it-yourself charm of the skater years. You can read “I’m here to sing you songs” in Ukrainian and “Listen to the rain” in Vietnamese.


Curator is Leonie Herweg, © Stefan Marx, 16 rear track areas, U Hansaplatz/GROTTO, 2023, exhibition view. Courtesy of the artist and GROTTO