February 26, 2004 - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen - Charlotte Schleiffert
February 26, 2004

Charlotte Schleiffert

Charlotte Schleiffert
28 February - 05 May 2004

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museumpark 18 – 20
3015 CX Rotterdam
tel.: + 31 (0) 10 44 19 475
Fax.: + 31 (0) 10 43 60 500


Choke Me, Spank Me, 2003

Inkt op papier/Ink on paper

234 x 176 cm

courtesy Sabine Wachters, Brussel/Brussels

Foto/photo: Shishang Mingmo Zhuanye Sheying

Say the name Charlotte Schleiffert and lightning starts to flash. Her work distinguishes itself by an unprecedented fierceness of colour, form and theme. From February 28 until May 9 the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents the first museum solo exhibition by this Rotterdam-based femme fatale of the art world, who is establishing an international reputation. The generous selection of her monumental drawings and paintings at the museum is accompanied by a richly illustrated monograph.

Charlotte Schleiffert (Tilburg, 1967) graduated over ten years ago in ‘s Hertogenbosch and continued her studies at the post-academic course Ateliers ’63 in Haarlem. She lives and works in Rotterdam, but never continuously. Long journeys throughout Europe, the United States, Cuba, Mexico, Thailand, Tibet and China serve to broaden her horizon. Her work reflects her travels around the world and her life in the heart of the city, as raw as it is sensual. In 1999 she received the first prize at the Prix de Rome for painting.

Schleiffert portrays human role playing: the confrontation between men and women, rich and poor, weak and strong. Her exhibition is densely populated. Pop stars, pin-ups and personally made-up heroes and heroines appear, side by side with guerrilla warriors and heroin prostitutes. Schleiffert’s stunning style supports the themes of power and lust, seduction and doom.

Glamour and the gutter

Fantasy and reality meet in a penetrating way. Schleiffert paints crosses of people she meets on the street with celebrities from TV or pictures in newspapers, magazines and books. ‘The society of pictures opens up like a puppet show, in which Punch and Judy’s guests have been made up and spotlighted by Schleiffert’, writes Wilma Suto, curator of the Stadscollectie Rotterdam, in the book accompanying the exhibition. ‘Suddenly a hard black shadow falls across the face of sex bomb Pamela Anderson, as if her features have been marked by the nightlife of the prostitutes who solicit in the street near Schleiffert’s studio in Rotterdam. The artist intermixes life in the gutter with the glamour of an idol’s existence.’

Feel no shame

FEEL NO SHAME, Schleiffert prints on one of her paintings in 1999; FEEL NO PAIN on another canvas from that same year. These lines could be her personal motto. They form a refrain that resounds throughout all her work. Schleiffert steps up the lust for life. Her assertive figures, mostly women, exude hot voluptuousness, along with a merciless thirst for blood. They expose themselves in trials of strength with each other and with the public. They are ‘survivors’, as Schleiffert says, warriors in the struggle for life. At the same time they are stand-ins: grotesque types that reflect the role playing in the mass media. And caricature it.

Countless press photographs form the source of Schleiffert’s work: she searches for the life behind the print, and drags it out from behind it. As if keeping a personal check on the media, the artist travels around the world and reshapes the documentary images into her own work.

Thus, Schleiffert positions the art of painting in the world of today. She expands the medium through a free, sculptural application of techniques on canvases of phenomenal size. Furthermore, the direct interplay with current events, that correction of the mechanized view of the world, gives her paintings an urgent dynamism. Not for nothing does Xandra Schutte, cultural critic and chief editor of the weekly newspaper Vrij Nederland, state in the monograph: ‘Schleiffert’s work is seething, alive and on fire.’

(Charlotte Schleiffert, Feel no shame, NAi Publishers, design by 75B, 112 pages)

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
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