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this is not what Adorno was trying to say


Egle Otto


Isabella Meiffert


Mathias Güntner Gallery, Hamburg


January 2018

The solo exhibition "this is not what Adorno was trying to say" with new paintings by the artist Eglė Otto in the Mathias Güntner Gallery, Hamburg, celebrates a progressive and pleasurable view of physicality and sexuality, which challenges its viewers to rethink their own categories.

Far removed from common viewing habits, Eglė Otto explores the possibilities of contemporary painting based on depictions of the body in her series of body images, which she has been developing since 2016. Much is hinted at, but remains vague due to the flowing forms and the merging body parts, which cannot be clearly assigned to any body or gender. No sooner does a section seem to break away from the abstraction and take on a tangible form than it immediately withdraws. The ambiguous forms are fixed on the canvas and yet remain fluid and unclassifiable. In this way, heteronormativity and conservative, still lived role models are casually overcome. The images shake traditional categories, question prejudices and can certainly irritate viewers. With their progressive proposals, they confidently encourage active reflection on prevailing references, norms and possibilities.

Eglė Otto investigates, researches and questions the cosmos of painting. This also includes the art-historical reference system with the dominant authors of the 20th century, many of whom artists still refer to today – such as Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. To this day, painterly text works have emerged from this examination. The title painting "this is not what Adorno was trying to say" alludes to the much discussed and later relativized statement by Adorno that writing a poem after Auschwitz was barbaric. In the context of Egle Otto's paintings, various questions arise, for example how great thinkers can be read and how ultimate or how relativizable their statements are, and which aesthetic, physical and spiritual experiences elude words.

The series of body images and other new works were shown for the first time in January 2018 at the Mathias Güntner gallery. The exhibition was curated by Isabelle Meiffert, who has worked closely with Egle Otto for many years.

A publication designed by Detlev Pusch with texts by Isabelle Meiffert and Raimar Stange has been published to accompany the exhibition.

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