until 14.10. | #4006ARTatBerlin | Galerie Schindler in Potsdam presents from 31. August 2023 the exhibition Verflechtung with works by the artists Simone Westphal and Karen Simon.
The material approach that one senses in KAREN SIMONS’ works comes from a love of the spatial, the living, sinking into another world. With often delicate, transparent, but also strong colours, she paints with ink, gouache and acrylic on canvas, sometimes tulle.
She often finds her inspiration in the moods of nature, places and feelings, whereby the representational is only hinted at, remains fragmentary or blurred. The sewn-on, embroidered or hanging threads suggest directions, connections, but also entanglements. The viewer is thus given impulses without being restricted in his or her way of seeing.
With this opening up of new mental creative spaces, Simon succeeds in addressing people, evoking emotions, dreams or an examination of oneself. After viewing the works with their loose, floating, dancing threads, one is released with a feeling of having reconnected with oneself.
The connection to SIMONE WESTPHAL’s art is obvious, because her objects (figures) are also of a material nature, they are felted from wool. Dolls, once magically charged objects for cultic and religious rituals, objects of representation and idols, have been a subject of cultural and art history for thousands of years. As small adults they served as models, only later as toys and finally also as motifs in art. From the first finds, 3000 years old, to the jointed dolls of the Surrealists, the tailor dolls of the Neue Sachlichkeit, the erotic fetishes of Hans Bellmer, the Barbie idol and finally the sex toys of the porn industry, the doll has come a long way as a mirror and distorted image of civilisation. Westphal’s works can be seen in this tradition, but they still have their way to go. And they are not toy dolls, they mean business.
From Joan of Arc to Diane Arbus, from Niki de St. Phalle to Hannah Arendt, there are many – heroines, saints, pop stars, artists, philosophers. All unstoppable and all fighters: Lionesses.
But not only realistic personalities were created by Westphal, fantastic beings such as Dogwomen were created by the artist’s talented hands. Her incarnation in white felt (2023) bears the head of a snarling lion on a female body in a self-confident pose: in the iconography of ancient mythology, Christian symbolism and heraldry, an expression of courage, pride and strength. Westphal’s white lioness is a hybrid creature like the Egyptian sphinxes, whose animal bodies bore pharaohs’ heads. In the reversal, the figure becomes the counter-image of a reversal of history.
Text parts by Barbara Straka (art historian)
Vernissage: Thursday, 31. August 2023, from 6 pm
Exhibition period: Thursday, 31. August until Saturday, 14. October 2023
Image caption: Simone Westphal + Karen Simon, courtesy of Galerie Schindler
Exhibition Simone Westphal + Karen Simon | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Potsdam Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin