About Portraiture The Exhibition

monika romstein

The colloquium About Portraiture showed representative works of the participants on 30. 11. 2021.

From my side, the exhibition should also include the dialogue itself as a framework, without limiting the individual works in their individuality.

We met during the exhibition week first once, then a second time. At first, we could hardly agree. My exhibition proposal was rejected. It was based on the fact that the individual works differed significantly in colour and especially in size. The large paintings should in no way overshadow the more minor, more delicate works. I could not imagine an ideal, finely tuned exhibition that would do justice to all the pieces with this diversity and bulkiness.

So my proposal was as follows: on the larger wall, to the right of the entrance, I wanted to exhibit sketchy works on paper by all the participants, which make no claim to mastery or the like. I wanted to present these modest works in a clear and quite boring exhibition manner, framed and gladly uninspired lined up. These framed works were to be on view throughout the evening. The wall opposite would show, alternating for an hour, individual positions that the beholder would be able to experience in peace as an (almost) solo exhibition.

All the works, except those in the exhibition space for that moment, were also on display in the studio space - casually as in a warehouse.

We were still waiting for paintings and sketches by Felicity Brown. (We waited in vain - they were stuck in customs until last week. The UK is much further away since Brexit. We underestimated that.)

Anyway. I couldn't get my proposal accepted. We met the day before the opening again, and with mutual openness, the individual pieces miraculously fell into place. Felicity's work was still not there, so as far as her part and mine were concerned, I had to do some rearranging. Thus, I chose two paintings that we painted together and not, as I had hoped, a series of her beautiful works on paper. Martin suggested hanging one of his paintings, a horizontal format, in the kitchen above the restroom doors. That was the icebreaker for me. Portraits are not only seen in representative contexts, in museums and government buildings; many hang in a domestic domain. And so, I could see the narrow exhibition space in my mind expanding indefinitely into the studio space. Monika hung a delicate painting consistently floating in the studio, a brilliant gesture!

And with my idea of an exhibition that deals with time as the works rotate, Felicity's works are timely in their own way and, since space and time are variables, are also going to be presented online soon.

How space, domestic space, representative space, time, transience, individuality, particularity, and relationships relate to portraiture is something we plan to explore further in 2022.

I have found our exchanges inspiring and enriching, and I thank everyone for their extraordinary commitment.

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