Generations. Part 2 Artists in Dialogue

Sammlung Goetz in Haus der Kunst

Geta Brătescu, Nathalie Djurberg, Tracey Emin, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Mona Hatoum, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Yayoi Kusama, Ulrike Ottinger, Pipilotti Rist and Rosemarie Trockel

Curated by Cornelia Gockel and Susanne Touw

Haus der Kunst
Munich, Germany
29 June 2018 – 27 January 2019

 

From the beginning, works by women have had a significant importance in the Sammlung Goetz. Thus, central individual positions – like those of Yayoi Kusama, Rosemarie Trockel and Mona Hatoum, or groupings like the Young British Artists – were established early on, and the work of such artists collected consistently over the years. In her passion for collecting, Ingvild Goetz allowed herself to be guided by her interest in socio-political topics, formal-aesthetic issues and artistic materials, while always remaining open to new discoveries. The Sammlung Goetz celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018 with a three-part exhibition in its own museum and in Haus der Kunst; the show is dedicated to women artists and their works, which are presented in an intergenerational dialogue.

In the second part of the exhibition, staged in the former air shelter in Haus der Kunst, the focus is on the body and the exploration of its limits, as well as the examination of social concepts of sexuality, gender and identity in moving images. Since its beginnings, video art has been used as a medium for self-reflection and the documentation of performances. On display are videos, films and installations by artists from the 1960s to the present day.

The experimental film “Kusama’s Self-Obliteration” (1967) documents the performances and nude happenings that Yayoi Kusuma staged in New York in the 1960s.The Japanese artist’s leitmotif is polka dots, with which she covers people, animals and her surroundings. Like the spiritual principles of Buddhism, they are a metaphor for personal dissolution and becoming one with the universe. “Kusama’s Self-Obliteration” reflects the spirit of the hippie generation, which strived to free itself from the constraints of bourgeois life, as well as sexual and moral mores. Accompanied by an esoteric audio track, the film accelerates and slows down individual sequences and uses transitions and zoom effects to create images that seem to dissolve.

The Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist playfully explores the human body and its sense of pleasure. In her film “Pickelporno” (1992) she follows the amorous game between a man and a woman from the perspective of the sexual partner. Extreme close-ups of intimate body parts alternate with shots of nature and psychedelic imagery. Through the digital post-processing of the film material, unusual perspectives and an intense chromaticity, the artist attempts to render the physical excitement visible. An essential design element is the film music, which drives events to a climax.

The Polish artist Aneta Grzeszykowska presents the naked human being in all its vulnerability and contradictions. Her own body is not only the starting point of her work, but also serves as the artistic medium for her performances. At the beginning of the formally reduced black-and-white film “Headache” (2008), one sees the young woman lighting a fuse, which is hanging out of her mouth. In the following sequences, Grzeszykowska employs film and computer animation techniques to bring the fragmented body to life in an absurd ballet. The individual body parts do not resolve into a unity but become conflicting elements.

The Romanian artist Geta Brătescu worked under the repressive communist regime for many years in secret. The limitations of the political situation motivated her to focus on her own body as the subject of her artistic practice. In the solitude of her studio, she staged performances that she documented in films and photographs. Her hands played an exceptional role as an artistic material and medium, as evident in the video “2 x 5” (1993), in which she explores with playful curiosity the potential artistic expressions of her aging hands.

British film director Sam Taylor-Johnson explores sexual ambivalence in the video “Knackered” (1996), which presents a naked young woman in harsh lighting. Virtually immobile, she stands upright, arms hanging at her sides, facing the viewer. Only her lips move as if she were singing a song. After a few moments, however, it becomes clear that the voice one hears does not come from the woman. Rather, it is the recording of a Gregorian lament sung by the last known castrato, Alessandro Moreschi, at the turn of the century in the Vatican. By connecting an androgynous female body with the high voice of an emasculated figure, Taylor-Johnson constructs an ambiguous, disconcerting situation.

The installation “Deep Throat” (1996) by Lebanese artist Mona Hatoum leads us literally into the interior of the body. The artist projects the endoscopic images of a gastroscopy onto the plate of a set table. The title refers to the eponymous porn film classic in which the leading actress can only feel sexual pleasure when she is performing oral sex. Hatoum combines this male fantasy with the images of a medical camera, which do not stimulate sexually, but trigger feelings of disgust.

 

Image:

Mona Hatoum
Deep Throat, 1996 
1-channel multimedia video installation (color, no sound), table with monitor 
(detail) 
© the artist 
Courtesy Sammlung Goetz, Munich 
Photo: Thomas Dashuber, Munich