FRAUENZIMMER

30 May – 29 July, 2017

Galerie Klüser & Galerie Klüser 2

BALKENHOL · BASELITZ · BEUYS · BOHRMANN · BOLTANSKI · BRANCUSI · CRAGG · DE MARIA (BENSON) · GIACOMETTI · GREENFIELD-SANDERS · GROSZ · KATZ · KIRCHNER · LEHMBRUCK · LES KRIMS · MATISSE · MENDOZA · METZEL · PALADINO · PICABIA · RODIN · SALLE · SCHIELE · STEHLI · VAN DONGEN · WARHOL · WEBB

Realising a comprehensive exhibition with 20th and early 21st century portraits of women would no doubt represent an impossible task even for large international musuems. Nevertheless, we have attempted to do justice to the many facets of this wide spectrum within the limited possibilities of a gallery exhibition. Deliberately refusing to approach the subject from the primacy of feminist criteria, opposition may be expected in accordance with the current standards of political correctness. However, social and ethical-moral changes can be discerned within the limited framework of our exhibition, as well.
This is evident in an exemplary fashion in the rooms of Galerie Klüser 2, where emphasis has been placed on photographs. The most provocative example is probably the large-format, double portrait of Briana Banks. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders photographed the star of the American pornography industry (like many other of her well-known colleagues) both clothed and naked, giving back a kind of common dignity respectfully and with no inhibition, and accompanied by filmed background conversation. Another large-format nude photo was taken as a self-portrait by English artist Jemima Stehli in 2001. It documents the natural, self-defined presence of her own body. Only 15 years later, social media such as Facebook censor naked statues from Baroque fountains and images of female nipples in tune with American-influenced prudery.
A few years ago we exhibited Olaf Metzel’s almost life-sized bronze of a young Turkish woman “dressed” only in a headscarf for the first time. Immediately, the artist and therefore we as a gallery received massive threats from Islamists, so that we needed to engage a security service for the opening. Later, in Vienna, the sculpture was vandalised on several occasions: naked aggression against naked facts.
Christian Boltanski made a sublime political statement with the deliberately crumpled photo lithograph “The Jewish School (Berlin 1939)”. It shows the happily laughing girls at the school shortly before their terrible fate during the Nazi era.
A young woman whose life is being threatened by a dragon is the subject of a screen print which Andy Warhol created for our edition in 1984 (Details of Renaissance Paintings, after Paolo Uccello’s “St. George and the Dragon”, 1460). Warhol made a deliberate selection of the detailed motif from the famous Renaissance painting, only representing the female figure paralysed with fear in front of the dragon’s wing, and ignoring the main figure – the noble and courageous knight.
The graphic work is compared and contrasted with the detail image of the “Birth of Venus”, with which Botticelli created an early icon of beauty in the ideal female portrait (also by Andy Warhol from the series “Details of Renaissance Paintings”).
More photographs supplement the spectrum in Galerie Klüser 2, with works by Ben Benson (Walther de Maria), Boyd Webb, Les Krims, Christian Boltanski and Karl Bohrmann. A new sculpture by Olaf Metzel is also being presented in the main room.

The main gallery at Georgenstraße 15 is dominated by the classical media of sculpture, painting and drawing. The entrée comprises a selection of drawings from the first half of the 20th century. These are on loan from the Klüser collection and not for sale. Images of women by Henri Matisse, Constantin Brancusi, Kees van Dongen, Egon Schiele, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, August Rodin, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Alberto Giacometti are all shown.
Large-format paintings by Georg Baselitz, Alex Katz, David Salle and Ryan Mendoza are supplemented by a portrait of a woman by Andy Warhol. Various views on art and differing attitudes between American and European art are evident in the contributions by Georg Baselitz and Alex Katz in particular, and yet the two are linked by a common factor: their wives were the ever-recurring subjects of their painting for many decades.
The sculpture section comprises work by Tony Cragg, Stephan Balkenhol and Joseph Beuys; there are three early bronze works by the latter, shown in a glass display case. Joseph Beuys probably reflected on the differences between the sexes more intensively than all his artist contemporaries, making it into an influential component of his oeuvre.
He saw the male side as more mind-driven, intellectual, and analytical – as a principle of coldness –, the female as revealing the quality of the emotions in e.g. sensitivity, intuition and creativity, as life-giving warmth. Since he regarded art and life as a single unit, the solution for him could only lie in a complementary symbiosis of both forms. The variety of the works exhibited gives an insight into the differentiated perceptions of woman in the fine art of the past 100 years.
Particular thanks are due to the artists Georg Baselitz, Stephan Balkenhol, Tony Cragg and Olaf Metzel for creating or selecting works especially for this exhibition.

Selected Works

From the TV to the Fridge (blurry) (2017)

Aluminium, stainless steel, digital print, marble plinth

150 x 95 x 70 cm

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