The Marked Self

The Marked Self

Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum

Günter Brus, Das gezeichnete Ich (The Marked Self), 2015. BRUSEUM/Neue Galerie Graz, UMJ.

July 2, 2015

The Marked Self
Between Annihilation and Masquerade

July 3–October 4, 2015

BRUSEUM/Neue Galerie Graz
8010 Graz
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm

T +43 316/8017 9100
joanneumsviertel [​at​]

What does it mean when artists such as Edmund Kalb, Günter Brus, Thomas Palme or TOMAK break up and distort the physiognomy of their faces, releasing the view of what is behind and underneath, depicting themselves in a deformed state and conceived in sinister mutations? Is the concern in these works only with the depiction of the individual or with a representation of our time, too? The exhibition in the BRUSEUM investigates these questions, attempting to provide answers. 

While the portrait, above all the self-portrait, was still a self-confident expression of artistic supremacy and individuality in the Renaissance era, by the late 20th century it had become the expression of increasing insecurity in the face of a restlessly accelerating, over-commercialised world in which the individual loses significance on a daily basis. As a compressed image of the humanum, the face shows the outer view of the “exhausted self” (Alain Ehrenberg), which is marked by fears, constraints and paralysing feelings of exhaustion and inadequacy. 

Jean-Claude Schmitt sees the face “as a sign of identity, as a carrier of expression and ultimately as the place of a representation in the literal sense as a depiction as well as in the symbolic sense of an agency.”

“The face has a great future, but only if it is destroyed and dissolved,” Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari write in their book Das Gesicht ist Politik (The Face is Politics) (1980). They understand the face no longer as a natural fact, but rather as the product of a cultural development and thus as the expression of power relations. The faces in the exhibition reveal forms of damage and deformation, which can be read as the traces of violence and scars of power relations. The “marked person” in the exhibition title tells not only of the medium of its depiction, but also of the burdens of time, which leave their traces behind in the face. It concerns forms and the possibilities of the depiction of modern man located between body and spirit, biochemistry and consciousness, biography and personalisation.

Artists: GIOM / Guillaume Bruère, Günter Brus, Maria Lassnig, Thomas Palme, Mike Parr, Max Peintner, Walter Pichler, Chloe Piene, TOMAK, Nicola Tyson, Paloma Varga Weisz, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra

Curated by Roman Grabner

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Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum
July 2, 2015

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