empathy

Fink What You Like

Receiving the invite to Morgen Contemporary‘s latest exhibition opening, “Too Close To Home” by Xenia Fink, I was excited. Boasting an intricate black and white drawing featuring an assemblage of female figures and anatomy, coupled with a words from a fairytale, it left me intrigued. Finally, I mused, another interesting female artist, and eagerly awaited the show’s opening.

Tainted Innocence 

On presentation at the private view was the series “Too Close To Home” in full, a collection of monochrome ink drawings displayed in a simple fashion, framed neatly. Depicting themes of women, childhood and family in a crisply executed drawing style, each piece was pleasingly complex yet simple – a mesh of issues presented almost in a palatable form.

Xenia FinkXenia Fink’s intricate drawings portraying everyday struggles. Photo: Chris Phillips

The edge preventing it from being twee was the presence of a darker, sexual undertone running throughout the whole series, creating in the audience a sense of unease. An obvious example of this would be the piece “Bedtime Stories” which is akin to an Alice In Wonderland scene as imagined by Polish French artist Balthus – deeply disturbing. Three young, nymph like girls loll on toadstools suggestively, a little too pubescent to be engaging in any explicit sexual activity like the adults with censored faces in another of Fink’s pieces, yet still writhing provocatively all the same. The accompanying text “I get so sad when I think about the bedtime stories we will never share” adds to this unease.

A Woman’s Touch 

The drawings deal with daily issues women face from childhood to adulthood, almost from Songs of Innocence to Songs of Experience and back again, with a modern day twist – for example (in the piece above) joking about amorous obsession in a casual way easy to relate to. Men, marriage, lust and love are all portrayed beautifully, often humourously, but always with a pinch of salt. The text accompanying the drawings has been taken from a range of sources, from fairytales to excerpts from popular TV Show Mad Men, and adds an almost comic book feel to the series, the protagonist a 21st century woman.

Aloof Artist

After all this I was eager to speak to the artist herself about her work, but despite attempting conversation was rebuffed distractedly, with an almost German-like brusqueness. Perhaps Fink is adopting Balthus’ method of remaining aloof and providing no personal back story so that the art can speak for itself. I imagine a name like Xenia Fink is hard to live up to, afterall. The crux of the show may be female sexuality and longing, but where is the passion? Maybe it’s best to let the drawings do the talking. 

  • Morgen Contemporay – Xenia Fink “Too Close To Home” – Until March 9th, 2013 – Tues-Sat: 12-6pm [Price range €900 – €5100]  

Article by Marie J Burrows