Marlene von Carnap

Marlene studied Art History and Chinese Studies in Berlin, Beijing and Venice. Her post-graduate dissertation at UCL in London focused on countermonumentality in the works of Xu Bing and Ai Weiwei, which led to a job at the studio of the latter. From 2012 until 2014 she was assistant to the artist, working on publications and exhibitions including major solo shows at the Hirschhorn Museum and Martin Gropius Bau. During her time in China, Marlene was based in Beijing's Caochangdi district, where she had great exposure to the bourgeoning artistic and creative scene.


At Michael Werner, she continues to be involved in projects in China, and is currently working with a museum on a retrospective exhibition of one of the gallery's artists.

Dec. 10, 2015

Art is important in your life, because...

It challenges my perspectives


Art goes best with...



Art is valuable, because...

It can eternalise ideas


The three words that first come to your mind when you think about art..

Creativity, communication, change


The best museum show/ exhibition you saw in 2014

Meret Openheim at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin


Your favourite museum in the world

Capodimonto Museum in Napels, UCCA in Beijing and Lousiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark


The best city to go for art



An artist (dead or alive) you would like to have lunch with 

Albrecht Dürer


The artwork you would like to hang in your living room

"Blotter", 1993 by Peter Doig


If you were an artist, who would it be?

Marcel Duchamp

What was the most exciting part of working with Ai Weiwei in the past two years?


As I lived and worked in the studio, I was able to witness how Ai Weiwei responded to challenges as an artist. I was impressed by his creativity, seemingly endless energy and his profound sense of determination. These qualities found particuar expression in his contribution to the Venice Biennale in 2013, where he was represented with three large scale installations: Bang, Straight and S.A.C.R.E.D.


How do you feel about the way that Ai Weiwei and Chinese contemporary art are perceived in Europe?


Ever since he took part in Documenta in 2007, Ai Weiwei’s work has received great attention in Europe. The overall interest in collaborative projects between China and Europe more generally has been growing in the last couple of years. This is mainly due to the great dynamism that can be found in China in the arts and beyond, for example in terms of new museum spaces. When I lived in China in 2010 it was very different from my time in 2012 to 2014 when no month passed by without numerous visits from curators from all around the world. The change is most evident in the new role of Shanghai, where new museums and art fairs are opening in the blink of an eye. This has evidently not gone by unnoticed in Europe. At the same time, Chinese artists working in places like Berlin have helped the process of integration.


What made you change from working with a celebrated artist to working in a renowned gallery?


I miss my time in China and at Ai Weiwei's studio, but I'm still in touch with him and look forward to seeing his show here in London at the RA. I am very excited to now be part of Michael Werner gallery as I am deeply passionate about the artistic programme, which includes artists that I have admired since my youth such as Sigmar Polke, Markus Lüpertz, Jörg Immendorff and A.R. Penk. The gallery opened with Georg Baselitz in 1963 in Berlin and is represented in New York since the 90s. I am based in London’s Mayfair, where the gallery opened its latest space. Recent solo exhibitions in London include Peter Doig: New Paintings, Markus Lüpertz: Players Ball, and Gianni Piacentino: WORKS 1965-2006. While I am now based in Europe, Michael Werner is a great platform that allows me to continue to working on interesting projects with my counterparts in China.

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