Artist: Jeanette Mundt
Venue: Société, Berlin
Exhibition Title: “Ultra Beauty” and “Treating Objects Like Women”
Date: October 8 – November 14, 2015
Note: Additional text associated with the show is available for download here.
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Société, Berlin
Based on a detail of Hendrik Goltzius’s The Fall of Man, the painting And Outcasts Always Mourn is an exercise in the melancholic. The work of mourning, they said, is the elimination of demons. The demons remain, next to motifs that pervade the exhibition: landscape, specifically mountains, and women. The mourning withstands the presence of the demons. The title is taken from a line in Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol:
And alien tears will fill for him,
Pity’s long-broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.
I’m a Dragon, You’re a Whore fuses H.R. Geiger’s alien and the threat of the female body. It is not a superimposition. It is not pretense. There is a subtle ferocity in asking about the surface of a painting, the creation of an image – it is a question of belief, of faith, of imagination – an imaginary being. How much weight is given to the presence of reduction? The layering of colors on the surface of this linen is realized with folded paper towels and the force of weight.
I Want You, I Want You layers permanent marker and oil paint – drawing and painting. The Sharpie seeps through the oil paint with time – persistent. The motifs create the pictorial space. Or is it the other way around? Maybe the mountains make a female form. The drawing is taken from the stills that make up a GIF of Patricia Arquette riding Fred Madison in Lost Highway. The mountain, the Matterhorn, is reflecting itself, a game of perception.
French Beach is originally Odilon Redon’s. Mundt stared at a printout on 8 1/2 x 11” paper of the rock that comes out of the beach, in front of the sky and ocean. The reproduction is unifying, eliminating all grounds, shallowing space and abstracting shapes – leaving room for interpretation.
Elizabeth Taylor leaves the ocean in He Becomes Fed Up With The Dark Ones. The gay icon, the fallible female, in a space defined by lines, strokes, a suggestion of liquid. The rest is in the mind. The violence is in the mind. The artist can give a name to that violence.
There is a definitive impetus – to be now – that is thwarted by the anxieties of being now. Questions about relevancy strangle perspicuity. Or is it the other way around?
Treating Objects Like Women
When she was younger, growing up in Switzerland, the artist hiked the Bernese Alps with her family regularly. Mundt’s appreciation for the Alps formed later in life, after she had moved to back to America – you love her as she’s walking out the door. In an effort to bring the personal into the work, Mundt reached out to images of the Alps. The motif of the mountain in Ultra Jungfrau and The Aktenschrank leaves the linen and the wall to stand, straight up and down, braced by the filing cabinet, with a security lock set at 666 – a nod perhaps to And Outcasts Always Mourn, in the exhibition Ultra Beauty across the hall.
Elizabeth Taylor leaves the ocean in Untitled. The gay icon, the fallible female, in a space defined by permanent marker, lines, strokes, a suggestion of liquid. The rest is in the mind. The violence is in the mind. The artist can give a name to that violence.
Predator – the title and the image – is taken from Instagram. The artist wants what makes her laugh, she wants to have what she wants, she wanted to use metallic oil paint as well. Can you something be yours if you’ve made your own picture of it?
Preoccupied with women and the construction of femaleness, Mundt is likely to turn to women in popular culture. The protagonist of the musical Mamma Mia is one of these women and the well- known advertisement is actually an image of a pastel drawing of this character in the agony of ecstasy. Me As The Mamma Mia Lady, Me During My Stay In London As The Mamma Mia Lady, and Tanya and Rosie Try To Convince Donna Dancing Queen start with that quietly atrocious and delicate pastel that is so often recognized but not quickly identified.