Thursday, July 12, 2007

Images of Man Today at Arken Museum of Modern Art

Images of Man Today at Arken Museum of Modern Art

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Micha Klein: Crystal Powder from God, 2000.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK.- The Arken Museum of Modern Art will presents Images of Man Today, on view through September 2, 2007. Today we are all unique! The individual takes centre stage as never before. From MySpace over politics’ cult of personality to TV entertain-ment where ordinary people pop up as the stars of tomorrow or suffer their homes to be styled and reinvented… We can be who we want to be. ARKEN’s summer exhibition IMAGES OF MAN TODAY spotlights the conditions of the in-dividual in a society where identity has become a lifestyle project.

Young people are united in an ecstasy buzz in an artificial paradise. A butch lorry driver dons a blonde wig to perform a soulful love song. Two human heads turn into a scrapheap from the consumer society’s surplus stock. The artists in ARKEN’s summer exhibition IMAGES OF MAN TODAY offer wry looks at today’s search for identity but the key point is universal: What decides who we are? Is it the trousers we buy, the music we listen to, the papers we read, the TV shows, the car…? What does it mean if you are a man or a woman in an age when the boundaries between masculine and feminine are con-stantly challenged? The freedom to define yourself is greater than ever. Iden-tity has turned into a lifestyle project. It is no longer merely a question of tradi-tion and upbringing. Is there, however, a personal kernel underneath that thick veneer of culture and lifestyle? These are crucial questions in contempo-rary society – and crucial questions in contemporary art.

The art of being human - IMAGES OF MAN TODAY spotlights contemporary art’s depictions of the hu-man form and its explorations of modern man’s identity.

Today artists utilise the human form in exploring the reality which we live in. Their approach is both humorous and critical. You can find artists penetrating the intimate sphere and bringing stories from the private universe of the home, such as Vibeke Tandberg who merges her own and her father’s fea-tures in photographs taken in a typical living room setting. Others challenge the boundaries between the sexes and the desire to be someone other than you are. Young teenagers in search of themselves in new communities are explored; the preoccupation with looks and beauty ideals are turned inside out. E.g. in Dane Lene Stæhr’s Gravity I-III (1998) who literally turns her models upside down, letting them hang, naked and imperfect, their heads up in life-size photographs. While the scantily clad youths in Micha Klein’s streamlined pink paradisiacal vision Crystal Powder from God (2000) are almost too per-fect, with spotless features and bodies.

The roughly fifty works in IMAGES OF MAN TODAY encompass sculpture, draw-ing, photography, video and installation art. They are all selections from ARKEN’s collection which is one of Denmark’s principal collections of interna-tional contemporary art. The artists shown include Jesper Just, Elina Brotherus, Sarah Lucas, Tal R, Micha Klein, Christian Boltanski, Elina Merenmies, Jouko Lehtola, Peter Land, Stella Hamberg, Lars Arrhenius, Keith Cottingham, Tony Oursler, Nancy Burson, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Elmgreen & Dragset and Vibeke Tandberg.

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