The Cyborgs and their traces 1968-1983

The Cyborgs and their traces 1968-1983
Optiman, 1969, oil on canvas, 138 × 112 cm

Bettina von Arnim. Paintings and Drawings

September 19th to November 21th 2015

Opening: Friday, September 18th, 6-9 p. m.
(Parallel Art Foundation Poll exhibits etchings’ of the artist)

The gallery opened its new exhibition space on Gipsstraße 3 on September 18th 2015, showcasing “Die Cyborgs und ihre Spuren 1968-1983” (The Cyborgs and their traces) by Bettina von Arnim. To mark the 75th birthday of the artist, a review of her paintings and drawings is given. All graphical prints are displayed in the Art Foundation Poll under the title countdown. Both exhibitions are open until November 21st 2015. A catalogue with contemporary texts and multiple plates was released as a part of POLLeditions (44 pages, ISBN 978-3-931759-38-4, 15 Euro). To commemorate the exhibition, the artist released her own catalogue with etchings and writing (40 pages, multiple plates, 15 Euro).

Bettina von Arnim started expressing her concern for the “takeover of technocrats” (Werner Rhode) in the late 1960s. She is skeptical towards the industrialization of agriculture and the conquest of space. Her Pop Art like work, executed through subtle brushstrokes, as well as large-sized oil paintings portraying critical realism and virtuosic led and color drawings show human machines and artificial landscapes. Referring to the essay Zum Mond und weiter (To the moon and beyond), they are named Optiman and Kyborg or are cited as Galaktischer General by H. G. Wells. Von Arnim makes robot like creatures in fantastic outfits, whose organs are replaced with pipes and funnels, disappear in buried and destroyed landscapes, for instance in the paintings Kahlschlag or Schacht. Cryptic characters, concreted patterns and outer space landscapes remain.

Very early on, Bettina von Arnim, says Wolfgang Längsfeld in the Art Foundation catalogue Augsburg in 1981, saw “astronauts, androids and robots not as a desirable future of the ‘perfect human’, but more as a threat, deformation and de-individualization (…). And she dared to wrap up her criticism in pretty pictures.”

Bettina von Arnim was born 1940 in Zernikow as a descendant of the homonymous poet of romance and studied at the national college for fine arts in Berlin from 1960 to 1965. A stipend from the Maison de France led her to Paris for a year in 1962, where she intensely learned the etching technique under the supervision of the graphic artist Johnny Friedlaender, at his workshop. Together with inter alia Ulrich Baehr, Hans-Jürgen Diehl, Maina-Miriam Munsky, Wolfgang Petrick and Peter Sorge, von Arnim makes up the founding members of the group Aspekt (1972-1977). Since 1975, she has been living and working in the south west of France.

Works of the artist are located in renowned private and public collections, such as the Berlin gallery, the Deutsche Bank, the collection of contemporary art of the federal republic of Germany, the Städel museum and the art museum Bonn. The artist received new attention due to the exhibition German Pop 2014-2015, which showcased in the Frankfurter Schirn Kunsthalle.

Parallel to the exhibition at gallery Poll and Art Foundation Poll, the gallery Philipp Pflug Contemporary in Frankfurt am Main presents the exhibition Mutanten und Meterologen (Mutants and meteorologists) with a fine selection of works from the artist (September 12th to October 31st 2015).

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