Klara Meinhardt: ΕΞΟΔΟΣ         
3—31 August 2019           

Atlas and Minos and the masked figure of Roman Copy: in the strong blue of three large-format cyanotypes Klara Meinhardt impressively provides the motivic context for her new exhibition ΕΞΟΔΟΣ [EXODOS]. Figures and forms from Greek mythology and ancient statues appear. But these references show strange shifts; the postures and bodies appear partly classical in their proportions, the beautiful curves, the well-formed bodies. But then the supposed balance turns into posing as if it were advertising photography. Not enough, the figure of Atlas appears with a female body, as does Minos.

The immediate sensuality that occupies our unprotected perception and thus normatively codes desire, this immediacy is disturbed by Klara Meinhardt. Not only because the ideally beautiful statues and postures appear in strange symbioses and new forms. For the medium of the cyanotype with its modern aesthetics of blueprint and botanical studies also evokes body studies, technical measurement—and a redesign of traditional cultural norms. In her appropriation of antique forms, the artist opens up the possibility of new contemplation and transformation. The alienating staging on the cyanotype in her means of design instead of in pleasing photographic settings for glossy magazines is only a proclaimed challenge to the supposed immediate readability of pictorial works.

With sculptures and ready-mades she also goes into space. Archaic-looking material is just as much a part of the exhibition as modern evocative steel and paper. The abstraction of form challenges our patterns of interpretation. One finds oneself as an archaeologist, there are fragments and references, references to mythological themes with a reduced-looking altar or sacrificial table. Another work, such as a frieze of 25 cyanotypes set in a steel frame, refers to modern man's urge and dream to dominate nature, while the ancient Greeks have been presented as both cultural and natural people since modern times. Using the principle of the ready-mades, the reinterpretation and functional alteration of objects, Meinhardt further intensifies questions about the readability and ideas of concepts, norms, and aesthetics, which she literally brings to bear in this exhibition.

The Greek tragedy finally comes to an end at ΕΞΟΔΟΣ. The masked actors move through the last part of the performance after the last song of the choir. The achieved change of mind, the catharsis, must now be achieved or be achieved by the audience. Meinhardt stages their shifts almost subversively; reference is made to genealogies as well as concepts, while at the same time they are semantically modified and broken. Atlas appears here as a powerful, carrying female figure. And for our eyes, this makes absolute sense today.
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