On the Name-Of-The-Figure in painting – Group Show @ Studio Picknick
Isabel Alicia Baptista
For the 2019 edition of Berlin gallery weekend Studio Picknick is proud to present On the Name-Of-The-Figure in painting, a group exhibition of new works by Isabel Alicia Baptista, Xenia Bond, Ryan Cullen, Tom Król, and Malte Zenses.
The exhibition‘s title, On the Name-Of-The-Figure in painting, is derived from Jacques Lacan’s conception of the Name-Of-The-Father; his interpellation of the Oedipus complex of classical psychoanalysis as primarily representing the subject’s introduction into language. In broad terms this exhibition can be thought of as an opportunity to consider not only The Figure’s role in the production of contemporary art, but furthermore the potential for an aesthetic Oedipal relation involving the artist and The Figure.
Figuration occupies varying spaces within the practices of the artists included in this exhibition; for its occasion each of the artists have produced new works which directly ruminate on this presence and power of figuration and The Figure. While not strictly speaking ‘a figurative painting show’ The painted Figure as such has a rich history, and within the context of this exhibition was found to be an element in common, however structurally or formally, amongst the works presented.
Historically there appear to be three categories of figuration: anthropomorphic whereby human characteristics are attributed to a non-human entity; animistic whereby an inanimate object is endowed with subjectivity; and finally the figure proper, unambiguous aesthetic representation of the human form. However, The Figure in painting seems to be agent existing within or delineated by the three categories, an expanded mode of bodily figuration. Here we might recall some aspects of the Oedipal triangle, but this triangle is not ours, as ours is born from yet another of Ovid’s myths, that of Pygmalion.
The artist who carves the statue Galatea which comes to life upon completion; she touches herself and says, “me,” touches another sculpture and says, “not me,” finally she touches the artist and says, “me again.” Perhaps this Galatean triangle is more of interest when we speak about the figure in painting, the figure which identifies itself with us, the figure capable of negation, the figure which simultaneously objectifies and subjectifies both art objects and viewers alike.