until 23.04. | #3331ARTatBerlin | 68 projects presents from 5th March 2022 the exhibition Bitten by a love bug as a duo exhibition with the artists Dominika Bednarsky and Paris Giachoustidis.
The exhibition challenges the mainstream portrayal of men and women, confronting the stereotypes, limitations, and ideals imposed on the disputed images of the sexes in society. Both artists employ a process of appropriation; while Giachoustidis references vintage postcards and advertisements for his source imagery, Bednarsky takes reference to the online search results of her intended topic of interest, using humor as a critical tool against mass media, consumer culture and gender stereotypes.
Dominika Bednarsky presents a series of glazed sculptural ceramics in the shape of traditional bouquets consisting of objects such as fish, bacon, hunting trophies, sausages, chickens, and other such grill party worthy items in forms often reminiscent of genitalia mixed with flowers. The bouquets seem to each hold a character or imply a narrative – one can already imagine the ‘hopeful’ couple who receives the erotic bouquet of calla wrapped in chicken with rose petals, or the fish whose mouth opens into an inviting expression of a vagina atop chards with scrotum veins. Their glossy appearance exudes a kind of grotesque contrast to the expected traditional feminine floral bouquets.
The artist creates a kind of new absurdist world in which nature, bodily parts, and animals all mingle into one. Poking fun at society’s clichéd thinking with a big wink, Bednarsky also shines light on the absurdities of consumer culture and profit. Tradition stands no ground here as anything and everything can be tweaked, manipulated, and repurposed for the sake of engaging with a new kind of buyer. It is inspired by an obscure new trend in which “male bouquets” are offered online with an array of cliché-laden ‘typically male’ objects put together to form bouquets known as “Männerstrauß”. Here we experience both the ‘masculinization’ of a once romantic gesture and also a confrontation with our own concepts of what is appropriate as a gift to the opposite sex. Why leave the men out of the tradition, and if we bring them in, why must we contaminate the gesture with such a Macho essence, why not simply have men receive flowers? Take it even further and we can ask ourselves why are we so uncomfortable with any kind of masculine context and whether the masculine touch has lost all relevance.
Paris Giachoustidis, on the other hand, destroys pseudo-realistic images of the past by adding absurdist elements to his works. His may be a male gaze, so to speak, but the women he is seeing in fact express complete empowerment and sexual freedom. We no longer see the female figure shying away in the corner, but instead lounging back on her office chair interacting openly with her sexual demons in a scene of control and nonchalance. We witness imagery of a female nude turning into a caricature of a smiley face, a perfect middle-class family looking hauntingly at one another as a galaxy casually splits their home in two. The child in the family sits on the father’s lap, breaking in such a small subtle way what we expect from this scene, never mind the more abrupt disruption which also comments on the unspoken distance between couples.
Mundane scenarios from the past meet contemporary disruptions of the present and future. Adam and Eve are presented as equals, together indulging in the act of eating the trickster snake who attempts to deceive Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. The touch between the two is gentle, equal, and not one of dominance or control. The artist creates his disruptions also through his technique, developing a color palette from a single tonality from once black and white images. Furthermore, by adding a singular element in acrylic paint within a composition of pencil and watercolor, he focusses our attention on the elements which disrupt and facilitate the possibilities of change and reinterpretation. The absurd becomes the new normal.
Dominika Bednarsky, born in 1994 in Schweinfurt, lives and works in Frankfurt am Main. She studied from 2015 at the renowned Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach, Germany. In 2020, her serial sculptures were shown twice in group exhibitions at Galerie Anita Beckers in Frankfurt. In 2020 she received the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship and participated in the group exhibition ’Alles im Wunderland’ at the Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, and in ’Kunst für Tiere’ at the Opelvillen in Rüsselsheim in 2021. Her last solo exhibition took place in 2021 at Kunstverein Wiesen. In 2022 she will take part in a group exhibition at the Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn und Taxis in Bregenz.
Paris Giachoustidis, born in 1990, Serres, Greece, lives and works in Berlin. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Arts from both the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and the Weißensee Kunsthochschule in Berlin, Germany. Notable exhibitions include KWADRAT, Berlin; KINDL-institute for contemporary art, Berlin; Art Center Bethanien, Berlin; Max Liebermann Haus, Berlin; Kunstverein Bad Salzdetfurth e.V. in Bodenburg, BcmA arts project space, 68projects and Russi Klenner Gallery. He was awarded the NEUSTART KULTUR, bildende Künstler*innen Stipendium in 2020 and the Art Prize Haus am Kleistpark in 2017.
Vernissage: Saturday, 5 March 2022, noon – 7:00 pm
Exhibition dates: Saturday, 5 March – Saturday, 23 April 2022To the Gallery
Exhibition Bitten by a Love Bug – 68 projects | Contemporary Art Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin