Collection: Markus Vater

Markus Vater was born in Düsseldorf am Rhein in 1970. His father worked as a social worker, travel agent, hostel owner and psychotherapist. He grew up in Düsseldorf and from the age of six in the Eifel: Highlands with volcanic origins that stretch from south of Cologne to the river Mosel. The Eifel is rich in forests and grazing animals. Vater grew up with horses, cats and wild pigs, and was frequently visited by deer. During his childhood, he observed his father giving seminars on communication and group dynamics after the models and theories of Friedemann Schulz von Thun and Paul Wazlawick; something that would later influence his work. 
After his A-levels, he studied Philosophy and Art History in Trier. During these years, he lost the use of his legs for long periods, initiated by a genetic disorder that affected his cartilage. After two years of walking on crutches and using a wheelchair, he recovered and decided to study art. He began his studies at the Kunstakademie Münster in Westphalia, where Ulrich Erben, Liz Bachhuber and Timm Ullrichs taught him.  In 1994, he moved to Düsseldorf, the town of his birth, and started studying at the Kunstakademie there. First with the painter Dieter Krieg and later with Alfonso Hüppi. Together with a group of other students, he began to organise events and exhibitions, which involved painting, dancing and video. The collective was called hobbypop. In 1998 Vater became Meisterschüler of the Akademie and received his degree.
The Düsseldorf Akademie combined a great mix of influences, stemming from the professorship of Joseph Beuys some 25 years earlier. This environment shaped a whole generation of artists that followed including Martin Kippenberger and Georg Herold. The music then was punk; in the 1990s it was the minimal electronic music originated by Kraftwerk, also working in the vicinity of the Akademie in the 1970s.
Other influences included the ‘Wiener Gruppe’, with Oswald Wiener still teaching courses on Turing machines, self-observation and Artificial Intelligence, as well as Friedrich Heubach, the founder of the magazine "Interfunktionen". In this climate art became a way of communicating with other students, free of categories and open in its possibilities.
During his time in Duesseldorf, Vater exhibited with Galerie 102, who also showed Cornelia Parker and other British artists, which influenced his decision to come to London. In 1998, he applied for a DAAD Scholarship to study in London and subsequently received his MA from the RCA in 2000.
In the meantime, hobbypop had become hobbypopMuseum, with shows at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Deitch Projects in New York and the Anthony D’Offay Gallery in London. In 2003, Vater won the Villa Romana scholarship to live and work for in Florence for a year. He stopped exhibiting with hobbypop on a regular basis and has since had solo shows at Sies+Hoeke Gallery in Düsseldorf (2008), Wilhelm Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen (2009) , Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf (2010), Rupert Pfab Galerie Düsseldorf (2016), Union Gallery in London (2017), Ludwigsburger Kunstverein (2018) and at the Bluebox of the Sprengelmuseum Hannover (2022).
He has been a visiting tutor at institutions including Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, the Kunsthochschule Kassel, Chelsea College of Art & Design and the Royal College of Art. In 2014, he was appointed Guest professor at the HFBK in Hamburg. He has been a tutor in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art from 2014-2016. Afterwards he had been appointed Guest professor at the AdBK Karlsruhe from 2016 to 2019. Markus Vater lives and works in London and Düsseldorf and is currently Professor for Painting/Drawing and Head of Department for Interdisciplinary Studies at the HBK Essen. He is represented by Rupert Pfab Gallery in Düsseldorf and Galerie Peter Zimmermann in Mannheim.