Exhibitions

 Galerie Wagner + Partner
 Galerie Wagner + Partner

Body*Self

Andreea Cioran, Izabella Gustowska, Ren Hang, Eckart Hahn, Natascha Stellmach

10/21/2016 – 11/19/2016


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Our times are seeing an increasing move towards ‘the body’ – correspondingly reflected through various trends such as fitness, tattoos and diet – in which physicality becomes more than ever a defining element of identity. Are we as modern, individualised people, persistently thrown back on our bodies for our identity formation?

Analogous with “identity” is our tussle: between inner and outer, between bodily sensations and movement in a social context, and between affirmation and differentiation. What does it then mean, to have a body and to form an identity? This exhibition addresses these questions in numerous ways: through photography, installation, film and painting – and by artists that span several generations.


Izabella Gustowska (*1949 Poznań) has investigated the role of women in social processes from an early stage, always referring back to the inextricable link between body and identity. Her work focuses on intimacy between women: as sisters, friends and homoerotic relationships (the latter was politicised given it occurred during the Iron Curtain era). In 1988 she represented Poland at the Venice Biennale with her questions of identity. For Relative Similarities she imagined a twin sister, who acts as a double and designs a fascinating game around the creation of a new reality.

Ren Hang (*1987 Peking) approaches the subject of physicality with his own visual language. The analogue photographs illustrate a relational concept of self-to-others and to oneself. Young people – mostly the artist’s friends – pose nude in oft-vulnerable, oft-provocative stances and these bodies are beguiling in their partly sculptural and self-determined roles.

Natascha Stellmach (*1970 Melbourne) has composed an installation of The Letting Go documentation: a project in which Stellmach guides participants through an artistic-somatic process that also involves a bloodline-tattoo. The installation reveals participants’ oft-fragile and frequently powerful relationship towards their bodies and being. The work Shame also goes beyond the personal in its role as a wound, by taking on a current and culturally political relevance.

Andreea Cioran (*1985 Bucharest) explores the desired goals deemed necessary to attain a female identity in terms of the ideal body. Her work #bodygoals, comprises of plaster casts, such as “beauty bones” and “bikini-bridges” that are so artificial, they are almost elevated to ‘brand’ status as products. Can we build and buy our own bodies – and by the same token, ‘design’ our identity?

Eckart Hahn (*1971, Freiburg) interprets the exhibition’s theme in his idiosyncratic painting style and by depicting birds as a symbol of freedom and openness. The idea of intellectual and physical optimisation – and its supposed self-development – is viewed critically by way of dressing up in borrowed plumes and in this case with a fake beak: a fracture remains.