Kunsthalle LAB completes this season’s gamut of international exhibitions with the presentation of Agnès Thurnauer, a French-Swiss female artist. An exhibition project titled Land and Language curated by Mira Sikorová-Putišová is the very first probe into the work of the artist in Slovakia. The opening of the exhibition will take place on Wednesday, the 7th December 2016, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. under personal attendance of the artist as well as the exhibition curator and it will be open for viewing until the end of January 2017.
The central line of the exhibited works is constituted by the series of large objects/pictures Portraits Grandeur Nature (2007-2009) which were also on display for viewers in Centre Pompidou in Paris. The core of this series is the textual transformation of male names – the key personalities of the 20th century art history – into their female variations. „The buttons“ – round suspended objects create an allusion to traditional portraits, which in this case rather substitute (than represent) fictitious female figures. In the conceptual pictures we thus recognize the female artists Marcelle Duchamp, Annie Warhol, Jacqueline Pollock as well as some others, who are absent from the history.
Through the feminized portraits of famous male artists Agnès Thurnauer raises the question of importance of the gender aspect in perceiving a painting or any art work in general. She highlights the fatal inequality of the representation of women and men in the history of visual arts, but rather than criticising the written history of art she seeks to confuse its unambiguous gender – “male reading”.
The presentation also includes some other works which use a similar principle in commenting on the “male reading” of art history. Land and Language (2016) is a large dimensional textual and figural painting representing one of the versions of the project under the same title to which Agnès Thurnauer has paid her attention since 2003. It is actually the first work in which the artist started to react to the gender issue in art history gradually processing this line in several media. At the exhibition it is also represented in the work, which combines objects with text. Her long-term interest in the relationship between the language/text and art has also been reflected in the painting titled XX Story (2003).
After the exhibition Fem(inist) Fatale (2015) the project of Agnès Thurnauer is already the second one held within the premises of Kunsthalle LAB which reacts to the topic of feminism and especially gender inequality, though this time, exclusively within the scope of fine arts emphasizing the written art history as a means of canonization of the so-called male history of art.
- Agnès Thurnauer: Portrait Grandeur Nature (Marcelle Duchamp), 2009, epoxy resin and color, collection of Centre Pompidou in Paris, photo by François Fernandez