Who Am I
At the center of the exhibition stands the human figure, symbols of life, vanitas and death. The theme of death is probably most visibly represented by Elmgreen & Dragset´s “Reversed Crucifix” that transforms the iconic image of the suffering Christ into that of an ordinary man, whose body, tied to the cross, even evokes sexual notions of bondage and submissive play. The motive of crucifixion is also used by Karl Horst Hödicke in his painting from 1985. The picture hides the persons body only evoking the religious notion through the characteristic nails through the hand and the violent stream of blood running from it. Just as in Elmgreen & Dragset’s work the arm could belong to anyone, therefore posing the question of human mortality. The universal question of eternal life and life after death is even more explicitly stated by Jeppe Hein’s “WHO AM I WHY AM I WHERE AM I GOING”, a neonbox which surface reflects the viewer so that in facing these questions they also have to face themselves. John Seal seemingly proposes images of bucolic visions of afterlife, but his pictures simultaneously transport motives of the classic vanitas still life, making the fruits look too perfect to be true and therefore exposing them as pure fantasy. The idea of vanitas and the passing of time is urgently present in Peter Dreher’s series of silver bowls which he continuously painted one a day. While seemingly always returning to the same motive, the changes become apparent in differences in lighting and the reflections on the bowls. While freezing one moment Dreher concurrently shows how nothing can stay the same.