Every artist is a human being!

Positions in self-portraiture

09.11.2010 – 09.1.2011

Beginning in the 15th century, artists use the self-portrait to examine themselves and their role. In the history of art in the modern era, the format is inseparably tied to names such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Max Beckmann. The development of artistic self-interrogation after 1945 has not been studied in depth. Showing works ranging from Pop Art to art of the late 1980s, this exhibition is designed to take a look at the selfportrait as an art-historical genre during those decades. The proliferation and growing significance of photography induce not only Andy Warhol to examine the genre with a critical eye. Artists stage themselves in ways that radically reflect their own personality or surround themselves with cultic auras, setting themselves against a backdrop of social or historical references. A young generation of artists uses photography and video art and the medium of painting for a skeptical self-interrogation. For the painted self-portrait offers a particular opportunity for radical re-framings and a critical engagement of one of art history’s great themes. Artists such as John Baldessari, Bruce Nauman, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, Katharina Sieverding, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, and Andrea Fraser opened the portraiture and mise-enscène of the self to various thematic fields from art history and intellectual history and raised critical questions regarding authorship, the individual, gender, and the concept of genius.