[EROTIC ROUNDUP]Starting January 26, 2021
When a complaint from the Berlin-Charlottenburg public order department arrives even before an exhibition opens, it must be a very special project. The friendly employee of the youth protection department forwarded the complaint of a resident (which initially ended up at a neighboring gallery), who felt disturbed by the exhibited works.
Under the name [erotic roundup], the gallery brings together works by Saâdane Afif, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Sylvie Fleury, Isabell Heimerdinger, Lothar Hempel, Jonathan Monk and Gerwald Rockenschaub who also contributed the title. Partly created this year or already almost 30 years ago, they show how erotic subjects can present themselves in completely different sculptures, paintings or drawings. Since exhibitions can only be viewed online due to the current situation, a combination of sex and the Internet seemed obvious. This combination, as it is rumored, has already proven itself over the years. However, [erotic roundup] is not a project that falls under the protection of minors, even if our attentive neighbor may see it that way. Rather, the aim is to show how diverse erotic content is transported in contemporary art. Sometimes the connections are obvious, but in many cases they only arise through the imposed context. What they all have in common is undoubtedly a wink of the eye and a certain ease that turns the minimally precise presentation into a kind of absurdist spectacle. The stage is well visible through the large gallery window.
Allusions, references and quotations are important components of artistic creation and thus elementary even for supposedly explicit content. They range from depictions of the naked human body, as shown by Feldmann and Hempel, to ciphered messages, the works of Monk and Heimerdinger. Cross-references to art history and even relationships between works within the exhibition are also apparent. All the works in this show are united by a playful approach to the subject of eroticism. Sexuality is often only hinted at and to a large extent only arises in the mind of the viewer. In this way, patterns of meaning become clear that have been learned over the years through media and (pop) culture and, for example, make the visualization of a bikini out of postcards cut into three equal triangles (Heimerdinger). The three-part sculpture group "Vice de Forme (Port de Oro)" by Saâdane Afif functions in a similar way, which can be connoted phallically depending on the angle of view. In addition, it shows another variety of eroticism in art: the quotation. Afif refers to a comic by Reiser on Man Ray's work "Hommage à Priape," a depiction of a nuclear power plant that can also be seen as the male genital. Feldmann also quotes Man Ray and adds a treble clef to the Ingres nude. The artistic homage can thus only be understood by the initiated, but the sexualized motif can also appeal to a layperson. Sylvie Fleury takes a composition by Mondrian from the collection of the Fondation Beyeler in Basel and provides it with a fiery red triangle of fake fur, which is not without reason directly related to Feldmann's exposed violinist. Gerwald Rockenschaub, whose art is usually minimal-constructive and almost never representational, shows a simple riding crop that only becomes a fetish object through the context of the exhibition. The wink with which the participating artists treat the delicate subject of eroticism is particularly evident here.
In the United States, objectionable music releases come with a warning label for "explicit content" if, in the opinion of experts, the lyrics are deemed unsuitable for underage listeners. Even though our attentive neighbor would surely have been happy about such a warning, we will do without it and hope to bring a little lightness into the dreariness of the lockdown with [erotic roundup].
– Daniel Pfau
Further available works