Dana Schutz: Waiting for the Barbarians

Cat. CFA Berlin

Exhibition catalogue, edited by CFA Berlin
text (German/English) by Marcus Woeller
24 p with 23 coloured illustrations
325 x 235 mm, booklet clipped

ISBN 978-3-86442-201-0


Are we there yet?

The wait is over, barbarians have not only briefly made an appearance, they are forging ahead globally and herald the so-called post-factual age, which seems to be dominated by public falsehoods. Dana Schutz (born in 1976 in Cleveland, Ohio, lives in Brooklyn) has long been researching this medially generated phenomenon in her large format oil paintings. The viewers are reminded of Dix, Kirchner, Grosz, and cubist figurations by Picasso, but in her latest works, she has once again increased their drastic nature compared to her earlier works. In the painting »Fight in an Elevator 5«, for instance, true carnage seems to have taken place: the grim old man, who bares his teeth when he opens the elevator door, holds the severed head of a younger man in his hand, and on the ground we see the severed head of a blond woman. One can only guess at the awful things that might have happened here. Everything, and yet again nothing, is the answer, since such a representation seems harmless in comparison to how such events are aired in detail on social media. We are not automatically reminded of art-historical examples, but – as Dana Schutz’s images make us painfully aware of – we do search for them; because we want to suppress the other everyday images, we do not want to accept that decapitations take place in reality, that they don’t just serve as news for our entertainment. We still revel in the dark humor of the artist and have not yet noticed that the elevator with the latest barbaric personnel has been set in motion – and can we be sure in this supposed »upward« motion that it will ever stop again somewhere and when?

CFA Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin, 17/9–29/10/2016