Thursday, 31 May 2018

Body, Psyche and Taboo

Body, Psyche and Taboo,

at the MUMOK  (Museum of Modern Art), in Vienna.

We saw this exhibition in 2016 when we visited Vienna. The show explores the links between Vienna Actionism (the violent, transgressive movement from 1960s Vienna) and the pioneers of turn-of-the-century Austrian modernism, such as Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. The show suggested that it is no coincidence that both movements responded to the question of human flesh as a site of suffering or shame in response to their respective political climates: the end of the decadent, complacent Austro-Hungarian empire, and the repressed memory of Nazism in the stagnant conservative culture of post-war Austria.

This post is not an accurate depiction of the exhibition, as I could not relate to the work of the Vienna Actionists and found some of it distasteful. The work of the early 20th century Austrian modernism on the other hand, was delightful, and this is what I have concentrated on in this post.

Egon Schiele, Dead Mother I, 1910

In this painting Schiele shows a child with gesticulating hands in warm and vibrant colours, which contrast with the pallid face of the mother. The child is wrapped in a blackness that can signify both black cloth and a womb. In the context of the high mortality rates of insfants and mothers during and after delivery, the juxtaposition of birth and death was omnipresent at the time.

Schoenberg Family, 1985

Judith as Mrs Schoenberg, 1986

Otto Muehl, Movement, 1962

Otto Muehl, Material Painting, Sardine in Oil, 1961-62

Egon Schiele, Two men with Halos (Klimt and Schiele), 1909

Egon Schiele, Mother and Daughter, 1913

Egon Schiele, Naked Girls, Embracing, 1914

Egon Schiele, Two Men, 1913

Egon Schiele, Two Female Models, Lying Entangled, 1915

Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Head Lowered, 1912

Hermann Nitsch, Altar, 1983

Egon Schiele, Poster for the Exhibition at the Galerie Anot, 1915

Guenter Brus, Sheer Madness - For Aachen: The Architecture of Sheer Madness, 1968

Robert Kushner, Rivals, 1978

Bela Kadar, Village Departure, 1925

Francis Picabia, Ganga, 1953

Hugo Scheiber, Geometric Figure, 1929

Rudolf Belling, Female Head, 1925

Christina Ramberg, Ticklish Construction, 1974

Ray Yoshida, Fabrication, 1971

Maria Lassnig, Caryatid, 1974

Oskar Schlemmer, Group of Three with One Nude Seen from the Back, 1929

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