Monday, November 17, 2008

Der verbotene Blick auf die Nacktheit

"The Forbidden Gaze at Nudity," was the exhibition that a friend and I went to see here in Düsseldorf on Saturday. Here's a translated discription of exhibition's theme from the museum's website:

In Greek mythology we read about Actaeon the hunter who inadvertently stumbles upon Artemis bathing in the nude. As a punishment for catching this glimpse, he is changed into a stag and is subsequently torn apart by his own dogs. This horrific event was a fairly frequent subject for paintings in Greek art.

After Ovid had included the story of Diana and Actaeon in his book on transformations - "Metamorphoses" - the subject was frequently depicted between the Renaissance and Classicism, as part of a general move to revisit antiquity. This subject from Greek mythology attracted renewed interest among 20th-century artists who focused largely on the psychological aspect.

Using works that relate directly to this mythical tale, the exhibition seeks to cover a broad range: using paintings from antiquity, the Renaissance, Mannerism, the Baroque, Classicism, the 20th century and contemporary art, the exhibition offers an introduction to the complex area of the forbidden glimpse and of erotic art. While delighting in the subject, the exhibition nevertheless maintains the necessary respect for this fascinating and difficult subject.

I may have shared this before, but please allow me to reiterate: I am not a cultured" person. I ain't got no fancy
knowledge 'bout art, history, theatre or whatever, but maybe that makes me more of a statistical control. I don't have so much experience with the subject, giving me a more objective opinion. Maybe?

So anyway, I really enjoyed this exhibition. I was a little worried about feeling awkward or offended by some or most of the pieces, but it wasn't that way at all. There were a lot that I found very touching and many others that were just beautiful, interesting and generally asthetically pleasing. It was also nice to see it with a friend; there were some paintings, photographs, sculptures where we said to each other, "Now what's this all about?" and we tried to sort it out amongst ourselves. My friend was more well informed in art and culture than I and was able to recognize the names of certain artists (for example, Edvard Munch) and tell me what else they were known for. That was just another aspect about the visit that made it all the more interesting.

If you like, here are some other paintings that were featured in the exhibition.

The friend that I went with is from Neuss, so when she drove me back home, I invited her in for some dinner. She's vegetarian and thinking about going vegan. I'd just gotten some bok choi, bean sprouts, hoisin sauce and soy sauce all for €3 at a local asian food shop (and dudes, they sell maramite there! that's for another time, though). So I fried that up with some eggplant and tofu and it was heaven. The End.

EDA: And, just some food for thought: I picked up a book of "erotic photography" the other day (actually, like, two months ago, but whatevs) and in there was a quote from some famous dude. While I don't remember the dude, I do remember (maybe not verbatim) what it said, "Erotic photography reaches the line, pornography crosses it." Something to keep in mind when evaluating a presentation of artwork such as this.


Regina said...

Your food photos should have been included in the erotic art exhibit! Thank goodness for Julie Jones- she has an MFA and has explained some pretty "pointless" stuff to me. Even though I still might not like it, I understand it.

Regina said...

Looking at the paintings from the show, I don't know the stories behind them, but am now curious. The drama, expressions, color, all elements of the paintings depicting scenes from ancient stories, are amazing.

pavotrouge said...

I so want to see the exhibition! still, you're too harsh with yourself about the "cultured" issue... I mean, c'mon, I've never had any education, dropped out of high school and have parents that would count as "white trash" in the US. what counts is being open-minded and not being afraid of your own opinion about art.

pavotrouge said...

ok I went to school ^^ I meant I never had any particular education about culture.

Tim said...

That reminded me of another phrase I like a lot, which goes, "If you never go over the top, how can you know what's on the other side?" Not the same, I know, but anyway...

Christopher T. Terry said...

The show sounds great. I've been in Essen for almost three months now, but haven't taken much time to visit museums. I'll put Düsseldorf on my calendar.

Rachel said...

I don't know you!