Marcel Odenbach studied architecture, art history and semiotics at the Technische Hochschule, in Aachen, Germany, between 1974 and 1979. He has taught media art at several institutions in Germany including, Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe and Kunsthochschule für Medien, Cologne, and Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf.
Since the mid-1970s, Odenbach has created a substantial repertoire of tapes, performances, drawings and installations, and is considered one of Germany’s most important video artists. His work critically examines subject formation in the context of socio-cultural norms and historical specificities. He has engaged such topics as male identity and sexuality, as well as the trauma of German history.
Odenbach’s video tapes and installations have been exhibited extensively at festivals and institutions worldwide. His recent solo exhibitions include, Familienfeier, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne (2012), Schutzräume, Sammlung Friedrichschof, Vienna, Austria (2012), Sportbefreit, Galerie Crone, Berlin, Germany (2011), Im Kreise drehen, Galerie Crone, Berlin (2009), Das im Entwischen erwischte, Pläne 1975-1983, Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany (2008), Wenn die Wand an den Tisch rückt, Shinkel Pavillion, Berlin (2008), Retrospectiva, International Electronic Art Festival SESC_Videobrasil, São Paulo, Brazil (2007), Durchblicke, Anton Kern Gallery, New York, USA (2007), In stillen Teichen lauern Krokadile, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin Aufspüren, Galerie Ascan Crone, Berlin (2006), Jüdisches Leben in München, Munich, Germany (2006), and La Mirada discreta, Espacio Fundación Telefónica, Buenos Aires, Brazil (2006).
He has participated in group exhibitions such as, Chaotic Trajectories, Temporary Gallery Cologne (2012), In Organization, Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, Poland (2011), The Tropics, The James Thomson Art Center, Bangkok, Thailand (2010), Paradigm Shift, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York (2009), That Was Then…This is Now, MoMA PS1, New York (2008), German Video: Joseph Beuys to Today, Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, USA (2007), Äthiapien und Deutschland, Grassi Museum für Vöolkerkunde, Leipzig, Germany (2006), and Sharjah Biennial 7, UAE. (2005).
For Sharjah Biennial 7, Odenbach presented his video installation Männergeschichten (Male Stories) (2003).