Maja Marx


Maja Marx  (b. 1977 South Africa) is an artist currently living and working in Cape Town, South Africa. Marx is a proponent of contemporary abstract art; approaching painting as an optical activation of surface. She has featured in South African exhibitions, with her most recent solo exhibition, Skin of the Eye (2023), being her sixth to be hosted with WHATIFTHEWORLD; succeeding There There (2020), Chorus (2018), Glare (2016), Block (2013) and Fold (2011).

Maja Marx’s paintings are essentially hyper-activations of surface. Marx starts by mapping ‘found’ compositions onto her canvas, and then allows this process of transcription to self-proliferate. Once the optical field of each canvas has become alive, Marx uses the act of painting to literally ‘stare herself’ out onto the canvas – each layer of paint, each engagement responds to the layers beneath to become rich self-referential fields in which the physical act of looking is foregrounded; surfaces that are read, looked at and stared into all at once.

Marx is a fellow of the Ampersand Foundation (New York/ Johannesburg) and a participant of MAPS (Master of Art in the Public Sphere); an exchange between the Wits School of the Arts, Johannesburg, South Africa and the Ecole Cantonale d’art du Valais in Sierre, Switzerland. Since receiving her MFA in Fine Art (Cum Laude) from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2008, her works have been included in a range of public and private collections, additionally, in 2022 Marx participated in the Ekard Residency in the Netherlands. She has also participated recent group exhibition The Pheonix Runway, with WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery in Cape Town (2022), as well as in the South African Pavilion of the Venice Biennale (2013), and the ELIA Exhibition, Cuenca, Spain and Gent, Belgium (2006).

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2023 Skin of the eye - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2020 There There - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2019 Chorus - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2013 BLOCK: Recent works - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2011 Fold, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2010 Crease, Outlet, Pretoria
2007 As Far As The Eye Can Touch, The Premises Gallery, Johannesburg

Selected Group Exhibitions

2023 Art Brussels 2023, Brussels, Belgium
2022 The Phoenix Runway - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2021 RESTUDIO, Cunningham Contemporary, Johannesburg
2016 Women's Work, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town
2014 Capital, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria
Footnote, Richmond, Northern Cape
2013 The Past Will Bury You, NIROXProjects, Johannesburg
Imaginary Fact, 55th La Biennale di Venezia, South African Pavillion, Venice
2012 ReSample, Absa Gallery, Johannesburg
2011 Basic Reality, Goodman Gallery Projects at Arts on Main, Johannesburg
ABSA Boekrak, KKNK, Oudshoorn
2010 Glove, Joburg Art Fair collaboration with Artist Proof Studios, Johannesburg
Spier Contemporary, Cape Town City Hall, Cape Town
2009 Paper Pigeon, Pigeon Square Public Artwork, Johannesburg, in collaboration with Gerhard Marx
Anaphora, Michaelis Rosedale Gallery, Cape Town
The Heart of the African City, African Perspectives 2009, The African City Centre (re)sourced, University of Pretoria
2008 Away: Richmond: Map Richmond, Northern Cape
2006 ELIA exhibition: Cuenca, Spain & Gent, Belgium
Hollard - Waste at Work

Art Fairs

Cape Town Art Fair 2024
Art Brussels 2024
Abu Dhabi Art Fair
FNB Art Joburg 2023
Art Brussels 2023
Cape Town Art Fair 2023
Joburg Art Fair 2022
Cape Town Art Fair 2022
Artissima 2021

Permanent Collections

Renee and Robert Drake Collection, Netherlands.

The Ackerman-Berman Collection, South Africa.

Homestead Collection, South Africa.

Seed Capital Collection, South Africa.

Goldberg Collection, New York, USA.

Arslanian Group Collection, Belgium.

2610’ South Architects, South Africa.

Ferreira’s Dorp, South Africa.

Goethe Institute, South Africa.

HBY Public Artworks Programme Phase 1, South Africa.

Drill Hall, South Africa.

Zonderwater Correctional Service, Cullinan.

Bois de Finges, Sierre, Switzerland.

Selected Publications

Buitendach, J. 2020. Art on the Streets: The Best of Joburg’s Public, Outdoor Urban Art Scene.


Buitendach, J. 2020. Take it Outside and Into the Heart of Public Art.


Garnsey, E. 2019. The Justice of Visual Art – Creative State-building in Times of political Transition. Cambridge University Press


Wolff, I. 2018. Conversations with artists.