26 January 2009

Souvenirs of a Gallery Visit

I might be making this up, but I think I saw all three of these pieces in the Leopold Museum in Vienna, in November. In any case, I was sufficiently impressed to write their names down, and I found that piece of paper today, and looked up their art, and still dig it.

This first one on the left is by Albert Birkle, 1900-1986. (There is a Wiki entry for him, but it's only in German. Let me know if you want more info from that.) An image search on his name will get you plenty of hits, but this is the one that really worked for me, Mann mit Pelzm├╝tze (Mein Bruder Tier) -- Man with Fur Hat (My Brother Animal). I think I spent about 10 minutes staring at it. Not in the staring contest way, but just digging it. This is the kind of portraiture I like. Technically, it's probably cariacature, but for all I know, this guy really looks this way. I kinda hope so.

If you look out the right side of the aircraft, you'll see a still image from a performance by Lisa Bufano, photographed by Gerhard Aba. The work was entitled Charme des Makels (the Appeal of Imperfection). Bufano makes good use of aethetic movement (like dance, or swimming) and prosthetics to create fascinating work. Her web site has lots of good stuff, including some videos.

I know some people are going to be transfixed by this image by the "wait, is she an amputee??" factor. Personally, I'm transfixed by it because it is so elegant. The juxtaposition of body and furniture strikes me as full of grace, even though furniture and human bodies are completely in the realm of mundane everyday-ness. If her artist statement is anything to go on, Bufano herself may be somewhat struck by the freak factor, so it probably all works out in the end.

This last image is a collage from Rudolf Wacker, 1893-1939. It didn't stand out for me because of the aesthetics, but because it's so harsh. It's hard edged and very critical-seeming.

From my scribbled museum notes, I gather this is a portrait of someone the artist actually knew. It's not flattering, but I think it probably reflects very much on what the artist thought of this woman, and not so much on what she actually looked like.

The overall impression I get is, this is a woman he was afraid of, but also fascinated by. It's almost symbolic, as if he just free-associated a list of things he connected with Mrs. Klimesch, and then glued them all down on the page together.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to staring at the man with the fur hat. I think he wants to tell me something...

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