Artist statement Denise Schellmann
…in times of corona quarantine
First virtual exhibition opening at Galerie Michaela Stock:
„An artist’s duty is to reflect the times“ (Nina Simone)
Vlasta Delimar, Laura Fitzgerald, Parastou Forouhar, Vlatka Horvath, Eva Kotátková, Evelyn Loschy, Veronika Merklein, Carol Rama, Denise Schellmann, Nancy Spero
19.3. – 30.4.2020
WHERE: galerie michaela stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna
The exhibition shows merciless NO PITY and highlights artworks questioning the artist`s duty to reflect reality. The art pieces vary in mood from lacerating and shocking, violence to desirable and comical to autobiographical narratives and focus on the de/coded female body and its representation in politics, society and social life. The show consists of work by ten women of different ages and origins, and includes work in all media—painting, sculpture, photography, video and performance.
The exhibition NO PITY! will encourage visitors to think critically about gender, representation, and diversity and how female artists can survive today. The show illuminates where women have been, where they are now and where they are going.
Shame, guilt and pity – all very strong emotions and social power mechanisms that have been imposed on the female gender throughout history in order to form a standardized image of women and responsibility. An autobiographical note often appears in the works of art produced by women where the working process leads to a collapse of the object position and subject position, which are then questioned in the same. Accordingly, the artists involved in the exhibition consider both the society and culture in which they live and work as well as their position as a female subject in the still male-dominated, asymmetrical society.
The topic of sexual identity with a special emphasis on female sensuality was already dealt with by Carol Rama in the first half of the 20th century. Her women are often depicted as psychophysical ruins; whether she portrays them armless, legless or reshapes female anatomy, she shamelessly highlights the orifices. Even in the seventies, Nancy Spero placed archetypal, naturalistic and radical representations of women at the centre of her artistic work. She finds the basis for her brutal images of female sexuality in different cultures and times from antiquity to the present. Word and writing have a complementary and supportive function in her work. Her works on paper are liberating monuments to all of the tragic and degrading experiences of women throughout history. Vlasta Delimar has been questioning the freedom of female sexuality and sexual taboos in a patriarchal society since the 1980s.The main medium of her work is the elementary, naked body. In a counter-process, she masks the body with female attributes such as laces, meshes, veils, etc. seeking a refuge of unprotected, female identity. Parastou Forouhar deals with issues such as the position of women in Muslim societies, the production of identity and the repressive political mechanisms. A constant theme in her artistic practice is her home country Iran, which she constantly adapts. Furthermore, a part of her theme is the German collective memory, where she has been living for a long time. Deeply shocked by the political murder of her parents in Tehran, her work has a strong political and autobiographical connotation. Scenes of violence and torture are lined up on the picture surfaces in the style of traditional Persian miniature painting. Considering the inner life of people, Veronika Merklein lets them speak from the perspective of their experience. In her artistic practice, Merklein fights against all kinds of discrimination and violence in our society, starting from her own body. Regardless of the artistic medium, mobile, rudimentary, but always sculptural body in Evelyn Loschy’s work leaves a restless, destructive echo. This formal reduction corresponds to elementary feelings that Loschy’s work awakens and that are inherent in every human, especially female existence. Through her work Laura Fitzgerald tells us autobiographical and fictional stories for which she finds the starting point in her own rural background and insecure artistic employment. Vlatka Horvat questions different ways of inhabiting a space and how the human body or a person takes its place in space and how it relates to other objects. Accordingly, she questions her own nature. In her works, bodies and limbs are first disassembled and then rearranged into abstract ornaments. The human body is always included in Eva Kotátková’s deeply psychological and surreal works. On the border between the real and the fictional, she transforms an original story into an abstraction, triggering very strong emotions. Her works deal with social structures and evoke feelings of control and anxiety. She is interested in difference between natural and learned or institutionally regulated behaviour. Artist and pharmacist Denise Schellmann sees the human body in the form of many colored cells and empty spaces that are otherwise visible under the microscope. In her drawing process, she transports what she sees and experiences deeply intuitive, which also expands the meaning of the work and creates new possibilities of interpretation.
In summary, all female artists reflect in their artworks the spirit of the time in which they were created and offer an unsparing and unconventional truth from the perspective of a female subject, who is at the same time the artist herself.