Prolific musician and artist Maxim has unveiled a solo exhibition at The Blender Gallery in Athens. “Infinite Drama Athens” is presented by The Blender Gallery and Varvara Roza Galleries from 16th September to 4th November 2023.
A live anti-violence art performance inspired by Maxim’s ‘Balaclava Ballerina’ sculpture was performed at the opening on 16th September. Fresh from his Athens appearance in the summer of 2023 with award-winning band The Prodigy, Maxim transported his ‘Infinite Drama’ series of paintings and sculptures to The Blender Gallery in Athens.
Maxim’s ‘Balaclava Ballerina’ is a super-heroine in a Balaclava carrying two guns that spray rose petals over negative people, and spreading positive vibes and love. Maxim was moved to create the image after seeing a photograph in the media during the riots following the murder by a US policeman of George Floyd. He saw a female facing a group of police in riot gear and she looked so innocent and was no threat compared to the strength of the 30-40 riot police with shields and weapons that she was up against.
This series of retrospective work, which was originally presented in London in 2022, is a collection of haunting, mixed media artworks that explore the darker corners of human nature, yet celebrating love and reflecting the artist’s appreciation of freedom. ‘Infinite Drama Athens’ features dramatic, powerful artworks, which draw on elements of the human psyche and dramatic world events. Maxim’s artworks all possess an element of drama combined with a hint of Pop Art – which is fitting for a member of a game-changing rock band who emerged on the dance music scene in the 1990s before becoming part of popular culture – who is known for his high-energy performances and explosive stage presence.
The performing side of Maxim’s creativity has translated into his work, as a multidisciplinary artist whose musical product sometimes informs, yet is entirely separate from, his visual. Maxim’sartwork reflects the fantasy world we all like to be a part of, which we see as escapism from the real world and is more playful. This ethos of promoting love and equality is also reflected in some of Maxim’s other artwork, which carries a strong sense of the toxic injustice that continues to permeate society.
The butterfly is a recurring motif in Maxim’s artistic oeuvre, and becomes a symbol of strength, uniting nature and the inner workings of the human mind, with a series of exquisite paintings inspired by the Rorschach Test. Central to the exhibition are Maxim’s Afrofuturist sculptures inspired by ancient African masks, painted in bright colours with high-gloss reflective paint to lend them a futuristic edge. The elongated, oval faces of Maxim’s sculptures bring to mind Modigliani’s early 20th Century portraits inspired by primitivist art mixed with cubism, or Picasso’s iconic ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ (1907), which both appropriated ancient African art and sculpture for Western art. However, Maxim’s sculptures ‘Green Future X’, ‘Silver Future X’ and ‘Black Future X’, are actually associated with the Afrofuturist philosophy of a cultural aesthetic fusing science-fiction, history and fantasy in order to explore the African experience and connect those from the black diaspora with their forgotten African ancestry.
A strong ethos of promoting love and equality is also reflected in some of Maxim’s other artwork, which carries a strong sense of the toxic injustice that continues to permeate society. For example, many of his works include the ‘$’ symbol, which is pointing out the good and bad side of money. Maxim finds the phrase ‘Money is the Root of all Evil’ quite ridiculous – “It depends on how you use it. Of course, greed and selfishness can cause corruption and destruction. But so many good things can come from having money. People can be fed, clothed and opportunities created for the less fortunate.”
Maxim, The Prodigy front man and talented fine artist, has been with the band since its inception in 1990 and has toured all seven of their studio albums extensively around the world, picking up numerous awards along the way including MTV and NME accolades for recognition of their unique style and innovative music, as well as their chart success with countless hits. Maxim has more recently become known for his creativity as a contemporary artist under the pseudonym of MM (Double M). He has been creating paintings, multi-media collages, and sculptures for the last 20 years; his art has been featured on various home goods, such as bone China. Since 2012, he has displayed his mixed media artworks in various exhibitions across the world. MM is well known for his sinister, yet beautiful art. MM’s creative process tends to evolve naturally, without too much forward planning. He prefers to use board as a base, as he enjoys being able to mutilate it and create chaos within the work.
Often his works are finished with resin. He feels this gives a certain beauty and preciseness to the images, keeping them locked and untouchable behind the resin. He is self-taught and has been known to use many different random objects in his works, spray paints, bullets, blades, and pills to name a few. He also uses acrylic and ceramic paints, and anything he can get his hands on that will add to the texture of his work. The paintings are a journey into MM’s mind and have a surreal edge that take you somewhere deep into his imagination.
All of MM’s paintings contain signs of strength and positivity while putting a “spin on things” and seeing them from different angles. Grenades carried on the breeze by a raft of red balloons; skull-faced butterflies brandishing Samurai swords, and gun-toting cats are just a few of the surreal fantasy worlds created by MM. Since 2012 MM has supported various charities and donated artwork to raise money for research into Breast Cancer, BT ArtBox for ChildLine, Shelter, NHS Charities Together, Young Minds, and Chain of Hope (cardiac care for children around the world). Maxim currently lives and works in Essex, United Kingdom.