Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to present BodyLand, a group exhibition curated by Lauren Taschen, exploring the significance of the human body and nature or landscape in current artistic practices. The show unites a new generation of artists, who respond to the present moment by capturing the potential of Land and Body, as both real and imagined constructs, from a predominantly female perspective.
BodyLand examines how depictions of natural environments and domestic settings are approached in contemporary painting, drawing, photography and sculpture. Utilising a range of tools and aesthetics, the artists in the show project psychological interpretations onto the natural world and human existence, providing a counterpoint to a traditionally male historical narrative. In lieu of conquering and overpowering nature, made manifest through tropes of victorious explorers, the exhibition presents a paradigm shift, encompassing typically female attributes that centre around a harmonious ideal of mutuality.
A selection of works engage with depictions of landscapes, playfully subverting this deeply romanticised genre. Expanding upon an existing vocabulary of nature painting, they reinterpret the subject to record their own histories and transform personal memories of landscape into fantastical visions that border on reality. Whereas certain works explore venerable depictions of flora and fauna, others verge on surrealist adaptations of the known world.
Further works focus on the depiction of the interior, offering a glimpse into an alternate painterly universe. Historically gendered and of art historical significance, the domestic space is reclaimed here as a form of artistic experimentation and personal exploration. This closer look at interior spaces and the strong response to nature and stillness in part results from the pandemic moment. This introspective view is followed by the violent reentry into the word of protest and war, with work capturing the memories of a specific moment in time.
In dialogue with both interior and exterior spaces, the human figure looms ever-present in BodyLand. With global attacks on human rights and a growing threat to women’s bodily autonomy, several of the exhibited works question the politics of ‘seeing’ and ‘being seen’ in a man-made world.
Ultimately, this exhibition allows for the natural world to be examined through the lens of the non-male gaze, an act of liberation in times of environmental exploitation and an unravelling climate crisis. Human physicality and fragility come unflinchingly and vibrantly into contact with the natural environment. The works speak to the instability of our times, while offering kindling for the imagination.
Lauren Taschen is a contemporary art collector and curator based in Los Angeles. She curated Summerfest, her first show in Berlin with Galerie Max Hetzler, in June 2017, featuring painters including Louise Bonnet and Celeste Dupuy-Spencer.
Galerie Max Hetzler
Berlin: +49 30 346 497 85-0