051009: Kunsthalle Krems: Yearning for image. The portrait in the course of time.

Kunsthalle Krems: Yearning for image. The portrait in the course of time. In the maze of icons As a generic term, a portrait can naturally be understood as an “image” or “reflection”. And this again leads to psychological classifications such as “character” or “personality”. All this only became possible when strategies of individualisation were introduced in modern art. And it is exactly this what makes portrait exhibits fascinating, such as the one currently shown at the Kunsthalle Krems - as long as one is prepared to deal with classic retrospective projects. Countless art historical episodes have taught us - despite all theory - that a portrait is a construction. For example the scenario in which Denis Diderot let himself be portrayed by Anna Maria Thersbusch in 1767. In order to avoid a trivial realistic image of him, Diderot posed in the nude and gave strict, ideologically trimmed instructions, on how his body must be depicted on canvas – in the same fashion as philosophers of the ancient world. The actual theme is a result of the specific view- and production circumstances accorded through the social conventions. The beginning of the exhibition in Krems marks this topic with a Mona Lisa painting by Gelitin, followed by an art historical tour with 180 works. Amongst the main contributors are Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon and Gerhard Richter, whereby the array ranges back to Lucas Cranach or Wilhelm Busch as well as more recent works by Clegg & Guttmann, Lisa Ruyter, Julian Opie, Plamen Dejanoff, Marcin Maciejowski, Katrin Plavcak or Siggi Hofer. VALIE EXPORT, Arnulf Rainer, Cindy Sherman, Jürgen Klauke or Christian Boltanski represent some of the post-war classics. The selection stems from a co-operation with the Albertina’s Batliner Collection as well as other museums, and the collaboration with numerous galleries. Knowledgeable visitors could easily come up with conceivable additions and regroupings, something that lies in the nature of the general theme. Nevertheless, the exhibit offers exciting contrasts, comparisons, and conclusions. When Markus Schinwald is viewed in context with Anton Romako or Elke Krystufek with Xenia Hausner, when the actionist painting strategies by VALIE EXPORT or Sarah Lucas are suddenly subsumed as “portraits”, or if works by Ines von Lamsweerde and Gabi Trinkaus and their strongly contrasting construction concepts of female images are juxtaposed, and when gender questions are raised by Jürgen Klauke’s photographs. Exactly this would have offered the opportunity to transfer the considerably too classic term of portrait into the contemporary forms of reflective media art. This could be an upcoming project of the Kunsthalle Krems, as the institution is once again in a transition phase. By Roland Schöny Kunsthalle Krems 3500 Krems, Franz-Zeller-Platz 3, until 26.10.09 www.kunsthalle.at

Kunsthalle Krems
3500 Krems, Franz-Zeller-Platz 3
Tel: +43-2732 90 80 10, Fax: +43-2732 90 80 11
Email: office@kunstalle.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di - So und Mo wenn Feiertag 10-18 Uhr; in den Wintermonaten 10-17 Uh

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