Jonathan Meese | 12 Mar – 25 April 2015

Exhibition: JONATHAN MEESE | Tim van Laere Gallery | Belgium | 12 March 2015 – 25 April 2015

German artist Jonathan Meese’s new exhibition featuring his paintings and drawings of women; including Cara Delevingne, Scarlett Johansson and his own mother.  On from tomorrow until April in Antwerp, Belgium


Tim Van Laere Gallery is pleased to announce Spitzenmeesige Women (Schniddeldiddelson). In his second solo exhibition the German artist
Jonathan Meese (b. 1970, Tokyo, lives and works in Berlin and Hamburg)
is presenting a new series of paintings and drawings focusing on women.
They are starring his mother, Barbarella, Lolita, Fräulein K.U.N.S.T.,
Scarlett Johansson, Mumina, Nofretete and Cara Delevingne, who currently
is not only Britain’s favourite Topmodel but also Topgurner—making fun
of herself by playing with her face, showing what a useful mask it is: a
subversive, humorous and playful performative act Meese deeply relates
to in his art.

Women—this theme seems unusual for Meese at first sight, whose work is
mainly identified with rather masculine dominated subjects like world
history, original myths and heroic legends. On closer examination one
discovers, though, that from the beginning women play an important role
in Meese’s painterly and also sculptural work. His early paintings from
2000, show an almost classical approach of act painting, following the
tradition of the femme fatale. Although his artistic expression has
changed to a more and more abstract expressionist style, his women still
often appear in the role of an enchantress, seductress, vampire or
witch. But Meese was never really concerned with the destructive power
of the female sex inherent in this theme. Nor was he intent upon
gender-specific questions. He even queries them in his performances,
playing the role of a woman (Zarathustra – Die Gestalten sind unterwegs
with Martin Wuttke in 2006), and in paintings showing figures with
genitals of both sexes. To Meese the femme fatale is only interesting as
an archetype of art, as a symbol of power. That applies to the image of
the mother, too. Meese depicted his own mother, Brigitte, in many
portraits and installations (MOR with TAL R in 2005)—as an animal, a
general, a vampire and the goddess Isis and many more. Following
Nietzsche, the mother in the artist’s eyes is “the industry of nature.”
Known for the deconstruction of pictorial codes, Meese renews in his
latest work the persistent power of often clichéd symbols which relate
to the women as much as to love, the origin and nature: the heart, the
spiral and the strawberry.

While dealing with a subject that has been discussed throughout the
history of art, these works are a fine example of Meese’s ability to
play with the seemingly banal and renew its forces. Using his fingers
for some paintings in his incomparable expressive manner, he even lends
physical power to his figures.

Jonathan Meese has exhibited globally with museums and leading art
galleries including solo shows at Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; Gem, The
Hague; CAC Málaga, Málaga; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; De
Appel Center for Contemporary Art, Amsterdam; group shows at Middle
Gate, curated by Jan Hoet; Museu de Arte de São Paulo, São Paulo;
Guggenheim Museum, New York; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; National Center
for Contemporary Art, Moscow; MARTa Herford, Herford; Centre Pompidou,
Paris; The Saatchi Gallery, London; MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center,
New York. His work is included in several public and museum collections
a.o. Centre Pompidou, Paris; Dela Cruz Collection, Miami; Musée de
Strasbourg, Strasbourg; Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna;
Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg; Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg; Rubell,
Family Collections, New York; Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der
Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn; Sammlung Goetz, München; Statens
Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

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