What do all the works at Galerie Gebruder Lehmann have in common? Distortion. The exhibition “FaceOFF” removes a recognisable face by warping it. In some way or another each face that stared out of the art represented a person through these deformations.
What can’t you see?
Eberhard Havekost has an interesting approach and in his photographic works such as “Hotel” he shows the viewer what the subject of the portrait would see. In this photo there is apparently nothing of interest just parts of a hotel room. The only trace of the human in it is the unmade bed, knee and part of a hand. What does this tell us about this person sitting in the hotel room? Does it really say anything about the person whose portrait it is? My first thought was no, until I thought about what kind of person would be sitting in a hotel room, looking at nothing. What you can’t see is the clue.
Spot the baddie
The distorted nature of the portraits gives them a dark side. Tatjana Doll’s “RIP_Verstecktes Selbstportrait” looks like a headless human-like chicken. Three paintings as one show an increasing distress, distortion and horror as the eyes become more hollow, the neck more severed and the colours less crisp. Other distortions show a more comic dark side. Frank Nitsche takes the face down to the basic structure the result is a skull-like cartoon with hollow eyes. It seems unrecognisable as a human and at the same time generic because everyone has a skull. Konrad Wyrebek’s works have a similar effect. “BoM F” looks like a nightmarish clown or a baddie in a cartoon, whilst “We are Slaves to the World that Doesn’t Exist II” could be an executioner…or Darth Vader?
Scribbles and blurs! Photo: courtesy of Galerie Gebr. Lehmann
Talking of nightmarish clowns, Maria Brunner in one of her almost collage-like paintings has stuck a red nose on the subject’s blurry face which is evilly cackling! This contrasts her other work which shows a sombre woman. Whilst the works are similar in many ways, for example through the collage-like effect, sitting position and background, they show two very different emotions and whilst the clown-nosed face is blurred the sombre woman’s face with an enlarged eye, is very clear. Could these be the same woman? A sad woman with a happy mask, or maybe bipolar disorder?
Put it away Rummelsnuff!
The clearest images are those by Bjarne Melaard, whose series of photographs become more and more scribbled out. I was quite glad when my eyes reached the least visible photograph because as a squeamish person I was not enjoying the surgical knives or scalpels sticking in the body of Rummelsnuff…nor was I enjoying the look inside his Speedos which he so kindly offered.
From a distorted world I emerged to a very normal not so colourful world! But there were plenty more galleries in the same building to keep my interest high, so after a quick refreshment at Café Journale on the corner I was back at the Galerienhaus!
Galerie Gebruder Lehmann Group Exhibition – “FaceOFF” January 28th – April 21th 2012, Tue – Sat: 11am – 6pm