Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Human form ‘From Head to Toe’

A group exhibition, entitled ‘From Head to Toe. Human Images in the Focus of the Würth Collection’ prompts visitors a fascinating visual discourse concerning the several changes as well as constants in the depiction of human image. The exhibition at Schwäbisch Hall, Germany courtesy Die Galerie, occupies 2,600 square meters at the Kunsthalle Würth.

There are paintings, drawings, installations and sculptures on view by no less than 100 talented artists who shed light from diametrically diverse points of view on the existing perception of and involvement with transcience, expressive force, beauty, self-questioning as well as standardization of the enchanting human form.

The exhibit, with its 200 portraits and deft depictions of the figure, looks to provide new insights into its rather well-known incunabula. However, the majority of the showcases, including recent acquisitions, have never before showed at the Kunsthalle.

It focuses on works of art from the past 125 years or so, by those including Claude-Émile Schuffenecker, Wilhelm Trübner, Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, Christian Schad, George Grosz, Tony Oursler, Marc Quinn, and Jaume Plensa among others. Yet the point of departure possibly is Leonhard Kern’s (1588–1662) an idealized ‘Fettered Slave’, created during a time period in which there were no sharp dividing lines drawn between man-made and God-created things, artificialia and naturalia.

Over the following centuries, while the results of epistemology, the theory of evolution, and the experience of world wars caused an abandonment of the notion of man as the undisputed crown of creation, artists world over started to explore human extremes in the twentieth century. Now, the thin line between the nature and man-made has again got so blurred that many denote the post-biological age and the body as an option.

The group exhibition gives a sumptuous visual challenge to discover subtle clues in the prevailing spectrum of artist’s views of the world and ensuing obsessions. Naturally it also tries to represent another fascinating voyage of discovery through the wonderful Würth Collection, revealing this time contrasting and shared approaches to both body and soul. Perhaps it may even succeed occasionally in making seemingly unbridgeable gaps comprehensible.

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