Bas Jan Ader
Alexej von Jawlensky
Franz Xaver Messerschmidt
In contemporary art all kinds of themes and as such also the face feature in diverse ways, be it in a video image or photograph, as a sculpture or drawing, in painting or in installations.
Curator Dr. Melitta Kliege
With: Bas Jan Ader, Candice Breitz, Marlene Dumas, Günther Förg, Keith Haring, Roni Horn, Alexej von Jawlensky, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, Bruce Nauman, Julian Opie, Tony Oursler, Arnulf Rainer, Thomas Ruff, Eva-Maria Schön, Thomas Schütte, Cindy Sherman, Wiebke Siem, Heidi Sill, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Rosemarie Trockel, Andy Warhol, Gillian Wearing
Faces are fascinating. They are the distinguishing feature not only of a particular person, but of humans per se. Just a few elements combine to produce the pattern that inevitably brings to mind the figure of a human and in so doing can convey a sense of security or humor or indeed elicit fear. The face as a medium of subjective meaning was not always uncontroversial as subject matter in art. Admittedly in art history it is closely connected to the traditional and respected genre of the portrait, but precisely in the 20th century it was not only in portraiture that abstract strategies were sought. Indeed, representations of the human figure were considered taboo and rejected as overly anecdotal in artistic concepts of the 1960s.
The exhibition Gesichter – ein Motiv zwischen Figur, Porträt und Maske seeks to explore strategies by which the motif of the face increasingly reenter artistic practice from the 1980s onwards. In contemporary art all kinds of themes and as such also the face feature in diverse ways, be it in a video image or photograph, as a sculpture or drawing, in painting or in installations. Indeed in art today, the face is used independently of its portrait function. This is the focus of the exhibition, which presents in monographic and themed spaces prominent approaches in contemporary art since 1970. A brief look back into art history is taken at two points, to sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736–83) and to Alexej von Jawlensky (1865–1941).
Image: Cindy Sherman, Untitled #327, 1996. © Cindy Sherman. Photo: Sprüth Magers London Berlin.
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