July 11, 2019 - Haus der Kunst - Miriam Cahn: I AS HUMAN
July 11, 2019

Haus der Kunst

Miriam Cahn, kriegerin, 12.8.13. Watercolor and pastel on paper, 47 x 33 cm. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris and Meyer Riegger Berlin, Karlsruhe. Photo: François Doury.

Miriam Cahn
I AS HUMAN
July 12–October 27, 2019

Haus der Kunst
Prinzregentenstrasse 1
D-80538 Munich
Germany
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–8pm,
Thursday 10am–10pm

T +49 89 21127113
mail@hausderkunst.de

hausderkunst.de
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Miriam Cahn
I AS HUMAN
July 12–October 27, 2019

Haus der Kunst
Prinzregentenstrasse 1
D-80538 Munich
Germany
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–8pm,
Thursday 10am–10pm

T +49 89 21127113
mail@hausderkunst.de

hausderkunst.de
Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Comprising over 150 works and spanning more than five decades, Haus der Kunst honours the artistic career of Miriam Cahn. In her pictorial worlds, Cahn pushes for the abolishment of societal norms and counters traditional representations of femininity and gender-specificity roles. Her focus ranges from the initial development of new portrayals of the body to the disclosure of people’s entanglement within the web of economic and ideological contexts.

Throughout the 1970s, the reduction of women to their physical was beginning to be addressed in art forms such as performance or video; the body itself was also being employed as an artistic material and instrument. Already at this time, Cahn was translating these ideas and practices into radically extended forms of painting. Her images seeking to include physical experiences that fundamentally elude a visual representation. From her early works, which were strongly influenced by feminism, to her later creations, the focus of Cahn’s painting has been the body, which she addresses exclusively in its nudity, and thus situates it in a psychologized sphere of placelessness and timelessness. In her thinking, the artist often explores the boundary between inside and outside, and what actually constitutes a human. The artist depicts humans—irrespective of gender—in all their fragility. Particularly in her later oil paintings, the artist finds new ways of depicting the destruction of binary gender discourses.

The exhibition brings together key works from all phases of Cahn’s oeuvre, from the artist’s early Super 8 films, sculptures, larger-than-life chalk drawings and watercolours, to the oil paintings which constitute her main body of work. Performative as well as intuitive processes influenced the composition of the artist’s images beyond perfect craftsmanship, or the cult of the genius in painting. Cahn’s work explores interpersonal attraction and repulsion, the ambivalence of lust, sexuality, violence and love. In so doing, she counteracts the underestimation of the creative and sexual potency of women.

In the mid-1990s, Cahn turned to oil painting. From the beginning, her paintings have beguiled viewers with their virtuosic use of bright, vibrant colours, while simultaneously disturbing them with the radical nature of their content: nuclear threat, the Gulf War, the wars in Yugoslavia, the attack on the World Trade Center and, more recently, the refugee crisis. In her art, Cahn focuses on moments when people are on their own, alone to face their fate. Her paintings tell of people who have empowered themselves to decide about the lives of others; directly refercing Giorgio Agamben’s concept of the “naked,” treacherous and tormented life of the disempowered. Despite the conspicuous represention of genitalia, the figures appear sexless and depersonalized, akin to proxies of a collective subject. The artist works with diffused, psychological colours and seductive, colourful pictorial spaces in order to express the immense pain of others. Cahn’s paintings convey empathy with the life of others as an essential aspect of humanity.

Cahn’s work provokes a discussion about new images of the body and humanity today through painting. In times of rekindling nationalism, populism, xenophobia, sexism and contempt for pluralism, Cahn's artistic work has become enormously topical. The artist’s central importance for a radically expanded understanding of the role of women in art historiography has become indisputable.

Curator Dr Jana Baumann

In cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw.

Funded by ProHelvetia

Opening with artist talk
Thursday, July 11, 2019, 7pm
Miriam Cahn in conversation with curator Jana Baumann
In German

Talks & tours
With the artist Leda Bourgogne
Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 6:30pm
In German

Guerrilla Girls: The Art of Behaving Badly
Lecture-Performance with “Käthe Kollwitz”

Thursday, September 19, 2019, 7pm
In English

 

Catalog
Miriam Cahn. I AS HUMAN, edited by Haus der Kunst, with contributions by Jana Baumann, Tess Edmonson, Natalia Sielewicz and Adam Szymczyk, interview with Miriam Cahn by Patricia Falcuières, Élisabeth Lebovici and Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez. Hirmer, Munich 2019.

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I AS HUMAN
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