Artist: Gina Fischli
Exhibition title: Good Girl
Curated by: Moritz Scheper
Venue: Neuer Essener Kunstverein, Essen, Germany
Date: December 4, 2020 – February 28, 2021
Photography: All images copyright and courtesy of the artist, Philipp Kurzhals/Neuer Essener Kunstverein, Essen and Soft Opening, London
Especially during emotionally stressful periods, many people experience childhood nostalgia, the glorified memory of childhood as a golden age full of free time and uninhibited action. The sunny time of life before the responsibilities and expectations of modern adulthood mounted. A utopian place where the wolf peacefully lays with the sheep. It’s not that Fischli’s “Good Girl” is about childhood nostalgia, at least not first and foremost. But certainly the exhibition takes place in the spaces where this warm, protective fiction is nurtured. Who hasn’t built a birdhouse with their grandparents? Crafted with glitter or colored those books where fox and cat alike stare drolly at the chick instead of tearing it apart? Gina Fischli’s supposedly innocent and authentic aesthetic repeatedly refers to this nest warmth, without indulging in it or positioning itself ironically.
The title, however, brings out that “Good Girl” is not a kitschy utopia in which life is a picnic. It remains unclear who is or is supposed to be the good girl, who speaks at all. As a result, various female roles – artist, mother, daughter – and the expectations placed on them slip over one another, sometimes seeming interchangeable, then again inseparable from one another. One point is obviously not to enrich art with the reality of life, but simply to allow it to emerge from an often chaotic everyday life. Another is (cue artist, mother, daughter), how strongly our culture calls on women to present themselves to the outside world innocently and naively. The she-wolf is supposed to be a cuddly toy. With this in mind, there is no reason to become nostalgic.