Friday, January 12, 2007

Madeleine Berkhemer • L'Ecole des Caresses II

Madeleine Berkhemer, best known for her sculptural arrangements made from stockings, strings or latex, will be presented by Galerie Nicola von Senger with various new sculptures and paintings from today till march 17th. Madeleine Berkhemer dedicates herself primarily to the examination of social processes from a sexual point of view. To this end she not only studies art historical and literary texts, but may also attend shootings with erotic photographers for contact, porn, and fetish magazines.

Milly’s spot, 2006, Mixed media sculpture (stockings, wood, steel, etc.)

She takes on the parts of three alter egos, Milly, Molly, and Mandy, who are set to seek out and indulge in the pleasures the world has to offer. In a decidedly post-feminist manner, the artist thus sidles through the domains of sexuality as a social phenomenon, as a search for identity, and as a question of control.
Berkhemer’s art is a process that turns out works which make use of various materials as well as her own body.
She works mainly with pantyhose, which is knotted, stretched, and interwoven into “hanging sculptures” that vary in form from threatening spiderwebs to cut diamonds.1

Milly’s spot (detail), 2006

Mandy’s spot (detail), 2006

Molly’s spot (detail), 2006

Her interest lay in the tension between order and chaos, between geometric and biomorphic forms, seriality and singularity as well as between continuity and constant change. She often chose non-traditional materials to express this, such as string, sand or latex and placed her work in unfamiliar positions: so that sculptural arrangements were often hung from the ceiling or stretched across individual spatial sequences, leant against the wall or continued on the floor, in this way retaining their change-based appearance.2

Milly's Maserati, 2004
Maserati, stockings; Dimensions variable
Installation view: Galerie du jour Agnès B - Paris, September 2004

MMM in Bath, 2002
C-Print, Photographed by Mike James, 220 x 300 cm, Ed. 3
related: Affaires infinies • Bettina Hoffmann

Madeleine Berkhemer also presents herself to the observer in this way, with an awareness of her appeal and the feminine power of her sexuality. In surrendering her own body, which functions as a sculptural measure vis-à-vis the observer, she creates three types of women from the construction, Milly, Molly and Mandy, portrayed as prostitutes, her alter ego.
These three fictional characters constantly flow into one another, highlighting Berkhemer's interest in the body and in sexuality. In this context, the body also signifies the medium which can be both stretched and also broken down into tiny microscopic bits, into cells.2

Molly in Blue; 2002
C-Print; Photographed by Mike James, 150 x 120 cm, Ed. 3

This dissection, the collage of individual details taken from porn magazines and the physical aspects are of interest to her in that male voyeurism is already factored in. She has herself photographed by the erotic photographer Roy Stuart, drawing parallels with Joe d'Allesandro, the hero of Andy Warhol's films "Heat" and "Trash" and seeking to examine the differences between the sexes.2

Cathy, 2003
mixed media on paper, fraamed, 20 X 15 cm

Study for Diamond 6, 2005
Collage, framed , 28 X 16 cm

In a self-confident pose she positions herself as a sculpture in an interplay of dominance and submission. In having herself photographed with a heap of men's shoes, she is not only making a reference to fetishism, coquetry and the ironic question of male dominance, but also the attempt to step into their shoes, to assume their perspective. No criticism of male domains or their destruction is intended here; rather, she is infiltrating in a lascivious and direct confrontation of their power in a subversive manner.2

Madeleine Berkhemer photographed by Wink Van Kempen at Hotel Erzherzog Johann

Madeleine Berkhemer L'Ecole des Caresses II

Opening: 12 January 2007 6-9pm

Exibition: 13 Jan. - 17 March 2007
Galerie Nicola von Senger
Bleicherweg 45, CH-Zürich

text sources: Galerie Nicola von Senger (pdf) (1),
Elisabeth Fiedler : From Male Wish Projection... (2)

via indie nudes ans fluffy Lychees

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