Exhibitions - Kunsthalle Zurich

NICOLE EISENMAN
31 MARCH – 20 MAY 2007

The American artist Nicole Eisenman (born 1965 in Verdun, France, lives and works in New York) has since the 1990s caught the eye with her figurative paintings that, playfully and with great artistic freedom, cross stylistic and compositional elements from the history of art from Renaissance painting to Modernism (but not Postmodernism) with comics, slapstick, TV culture, pornography and subcultural image strategies. The exhibition in Kunsthalle Zürich is the first comprehensive review of this artist in an institution. For their second touring venue, the almost 30 oil paintings and over 100 drawings will go on tour to Le Plateau in Paris in June.

Opulent group scenes, which go back to historical painting and the Social Realist wall paintings of the 1930s, appear next to portraits and mythological burlesques that are painted both in masterly style and in crude caricatures. What is central to Eisenman’s oeuvre is an excessive, drawing-based work complex that comprises all the classical picture genres and a wit formulated between the outrageous and the idiotic.

Nicole Eisenman’s work is an inspired and gleeful deconstruction of conventions in art and society and questions social models, above all by reversing female and male role clichés. At the beginning of the 1990s Nicole Eisenman made a name for herself with monumental murals and large-scale drawing installations in tune with her generation of artists who, in contrast to the dominance of photography and language in the work of their predecessors, established painting and sculpture as central to their personal vocabulary. In 1993 and 1994 she took part in two exhibitions that, independent of each other, took place in the ICA London and in New York’s New Museum and the Wight Art Gallery in California under the title Bad Girls, which presented so-called feminist positions in works that Marcia Tucker in the catalogue to the exhibit describes as: “irreverent, anti-ideological, nondoctrinaire, nondidactic, unpolemical and thoroughly unladylike.


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