MIKE OKAY – Fehler is’ King
Mike grew up during the 1980s in the GDR, in a planned city called Halle-Neustadt which was dominated by the geometric forms of the prefabricated buildings. His image of this part of town, in which he has spent his whole childhood, is shaped by countless concrete blocks, blooming flower beds, full clotheslines and colourful playgrounds and many of childhood memories. When he works a certain feeling is of importance. It’s this carefree feeling that lets him immerse himself undistracted in a time gone by or in a certain scenario. At the heart of his work are nostalgic moments and quotes from this childhood and youth of his generation in the 80s in East Germany and in the 90s in reunified Germany. He is fascinated by childrens drawings, the untrained hand, the imperfections in the presentation, mistakes. Seriousness, correctness and perfectionism contradict a modern conception of childhood and are less interesting for Mike Okay. It wants to be rough and unpolished. Geometric shapes, abstracted animals, ball of wool, matchbox cars, toys and bizarre scenarios are recurring motifs, which form in a very bold, carefree and informal way to a curious miniature world. His works often resemble a messy children’s room. A happy chaos prevails. It is a childish anarchy that doesn’t hurt but makes you smile and invites you to allow the absurd.
A childish anarchy that does not hurt, but makes you smile and asks you to allow the absurd and let your imagination run wild. All the pictorial elements are keys or rather emotional triggers for memories. And indeed, for many of the objects actual models exist in the artist’s private collection. But they are more than just a motif for memories. Through abstraction and the new interplay on the canvas they lose their original context – changing like memories – and open up a new narrative.
As co-founder of the artist collective KLUB7, he has been working alongside his friends Diskorobot, Kid Cash, Otto Baum, Lowskii and Dani Daphne since 1998.
Mike Okay lives in Halle and works together with his artist collective in Halle and Berlin and all over the world.
•2019 Member of the Art Directors Club Germany
•2017 Artist Grant at Kunststiftung Sachsen-Anhalt & Kloster Bergesche Stiftung (Art Foundation Saxony-Anhalt and Kloster Berge Foundation)
•2003-2010 Design Studies at University of Art and Design Burg Giebichenstein Halle
•2001-2002 Architecture Studies at HTWK Leipzig
•1998 Co-founder of the Art Collective KLUB7
•1980 Born in Halle