In a topical exhibition, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt follows artists in their quest for a contemporary form of self-expression.




Self-portraits: artistic representation and self-representation. Traditionally, self-portraits focus on the artist’s external appearance.

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UNITL 29 MAY 2016

These days, the traditional self-portrait is history. In the past, it was only artists who painted themselves in front of the mirror. In the age of Facebook, self-presentation has become a tool for everyone. We live in radically egocentric times. Day after day, our faces migrate into a gigantic digital image archive. How are artists coping with this situation? Günther Förg headless descends a staircase, Wolfgang Tillmans shows only his knee, Pawel Althamer his clothes, Michael Sailstorfer forms his name in large letters, and Sarah Lucas almost kicks the viewer in the face while Florian Meisenberg allows the viewer to participate in his life via smartphone live stream. Ironical, playful and deconstructive – artists no longer present their faces as they used to. They have moved on from self-revelation and hide from view, they deviate and distance themselves from their own ego. In a topical exhibition with about 40 positions, SCHIRN follows these iconoclasts in their quest for a contemporary form of self-expression – including works by Abraham Cruzvillegas, Ryan Gander, Alicja Kwade, Jonathan Monk and Rosemarie Trockel. The ego is experimentally evacuated. Now, only fleeting encounters occur.

VIDEO

CATALOG

The self as political issue

The exhibition catalogue “ME” presents a comprehensive overview of the iconoclastic processes to which the genre of the self-portrait is subject today, along with relevant subversive techniques in art, including humor, irony, decentralization, fragmentation, blindness, and obstruction. However—or perhaps precisely for that reason—the artist-subject has remained a leitmotif in contemporary art, although it is no longer associated exclusively with the image of the artist. The subject is a constantly changing phenomenon and thus difficult to grasp in a portrait.

FUNDED BY 

GERMAN FEDERAL CULTURAL FOUNDATION
KULTURFONDS FRANKFURT RHEINMAIN

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT BY

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS

Media Partners

SLEEK MAGA­ZINE, JOUR­NAL FRANK­FURT