Wednesday 14 March 2018

Introducing Max Reeves

135 artists are taking part in "Inside Job" which takes place on the 7th and 8th of April on Level 6 of Tate Modern. Over the next few weeks The Rebel Magazine will be chatting to some of the Tate staff who are showing their artwork. Today we focus in on Max Reeves
Q) Where did you grow up and what kind of education did you receive? "I grew up in Papakura a city on the southern borderlands of Auckland, now swallowed up by the Metropolis. I was quite lucky to grow up in a reasonably egalitarian society and don't consider myself of any particular class. Declasse... We were overshadowed by an old Maori Pa on top of Red Hill. Papakura means Red Earth because of the fertile soil or we were told because of all the blood shed. I left home and went to Auckland University where I benefited from a free education. Education should be free! I studied English and History with Psychology and Philosophy. I still reference what I picked up there now especially the poetry I studied. My favourite Poet was Pound (even though we have opposite politics) and he is still a big influence on my photography today."
Q) How long have you been working at the Tate and what's the best show you've seen there? "I got the job as an agency VA a few years ago. I can't remember when exactly. I am of the precariate. I'm more into individual pictures than shows...but many images I look at at the Tate have had deep impressions on me. Maybe because I'm self-taught with no art training? An image that has particularly seered into my psyche is Ba al the Warrior by Atlan (L2 East). I love the story of him escaping Nazi deportation by pretending to be mental in an Asylum during WW2 as well as the image of Ba al as an outsider. A lot of my work is about 'outsiderness'. I associate Baal with Cyprus trees and Crows in my mythology. This picture served as a sort of nucleus for my last project called MAPA where I went from Marseille-Arles-Paris-Avers sur Oise trying to connect Atlan, Van Gogh and Artaud through Mental Hospitals, Graveyards, residences, studios, trees, crows, statues and stuff... with outsideness, gesture, mentals, meaning and death."
Q) What can you tell me about the work you're exhibiting in the Tate Modern show? "Crow London. London is my adopted city and I had a strong image of it before ever coming through literature, nursery rhymes, film and stories from my parents. The reality is obviously somewhat different. I try to make a semi-mythical mental liminal London. Crows are one of my leitmotifs as symbols of transcendence and inbetweeness. Of dangerous Freedoms."
Q) How can people find out more about your work - do you have a website or do Instagram? Facebook. MaxCrowReeves. I have a website but it's outdated. But you can see my Zine Papakura Post Office there. Actually Tate Library in TB has copies of them as well and also my book Mirkwood about the forest of Bethlem..."
Q) Is there anything you have to declare / do you have a favourite quote, thought or joke you'd care to share? "Well I remember going to a Front of House forum thing several years ago featuring Chris Derkon the old Director (see photo above). I have always thought that the Tate is the sum of all the diverse, talented and interesting humans that inhabit it from the 'bottom' up. Who's Tate? Our Tate! One of our colleagues Chino asked him about the possibility of a Tate Staff show. Derkon went on a typically circuitous word haemorrhage the general gist of which was 'you are not good enough to show your work at the Tate.' I thought Fuck You! and decided then and there to make it happen. It's taken a few years and many good people but here we are."
"Inside Job": An exhibition of art by Tate Staff will take place on Level 6 of the Blavatnik Building of Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG

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