Artist: Lea von Wintzingerode
Exhibition title: The Contract
Venue: Lulu annex, Mexico City, Mexico
Date: April 13 – July 31, 2019
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Lulu, Mexico City
“When I suddenly see myself in the depths of the mirror, I take fright. I can scarcely believe that I have limits, that I am outlined and defined. I feel myself to be dispersed in the atmosphere, thinking inside other creatures, living inside things beyond myself. When I suddenly see myself in the mirror, I am not startled because I find myself ugly or beautiful. I discover, in fact, that I possess another quality. When I haven’t looked at myself for some time, I almost forget that I am human, I tend to forget my past, and I find myself with the same deliverance from purpose and conscience as something that is barely alive.” –Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart
Lulu annex is proud to present a solo exhibition of the German, Berlin-based painter Lea von Wintzingerode.
Lea von Wintzingerode makes figurative paintings which are marked by an apparent, seemingly naive simplicity, but are actually quite sophisticated meditations on issues of gender, social relations, looking, the history of dance and painting itself. The imagery in her paintings is inspired either by specific instants in art history, memories, or are entirely imagined, or finally, all of the above. It seems to almost exist in an oneiric space of fantasy in which social encounters are characterized by an ideal harmony and parity. Aware of being watched, figures perform for the viewer, and as such, include the viewer, thereby implying that viewing itself is both a form of participation and an active negotiation, as opposed to that of passive consumption. This active negotiation extends to how the paintings themselves are made. Using a great deal of thinner, Wintzingerode rapidly applies highly diluted oil paint in visible gestures that build imagery and space, while never letting them forget that what they are looking at is a painting, mediated by over a thousand years of art history, image production, and looking. The relative simplicity and occasional awkwardness with which the works are painted is deliberate, having more to do with facture and constructed-ness than the development of a specific style. If the work ever seems fanciful, it is not a fancifulness borne of a turning away from the world, but rather about trying to imagine a future one.
For her exhibition at Lulu annex, Wintzingerode came to Mexico City and produced the entire exhibition in two months. Works respond to the context in which they were made, dealing variously with intimate and domestic settings, portraiture or social scenarios. In the large, bucolic painting, Invitation, a woman is seen inviting two other figures to a stroll, while a group of figures cavort in the background with Breughelesque abandon, and in Port de bras, two women are seen apparently helping each other get dressed, as their mirrored counterparts reflect a duet engaged in a classical dance move. Based on Francisco Goya’s well known La Maja desnuda and La Maja vestida, the diptych, La Maja acostada, and La Maja levantándose, which undermine the sentimental objectification of the original, while investing her with a sense of active (waking up) rather passive (asleep) presence. All that said, although the work is generally marked by different moments of idealization, it is also haunted by an unsettling, phantasmagoric quality, as if the figures were not entirely of this world. The women gathering in Rendezvous, for instance, are joined by two phantasmal figures who all but disappear into the background, while some of the dancers in Departure are quite literally semi-transparent, to say nothing of the apparently disembodied feet shuffling along in the nearly mono-chromatic Ronde de Jambe.
Lea von Wintzingerode (b. 1990, Bayreuth, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. A selection of recent solo exhibitions includes: Remember, Museum Burg Pottenstein, Pottenstein, Germany (2018); This is My Fabrication, (performance), Halle für Kunst, Lüneburg, Germany, Nearby Dark, (performance), The Convivio, Malmö, Sweden (2017); Lodge, Bianca D’Alessandro, Copenhagen, Denmark (2016); Young Team, Kunstverein Nürnberg – Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft, Nuremberg, Germany (2015). A selection of recent group exhibitions includes: The Shelter Hidden in the Eyes, (performance with Filipe Lippe), Deichtorhallen, Haus der Photographie, Hamburg, Germany (2018); Exhibition paintings, Merano Arte – Kunst Meran, Merano, Italy; Independence Day II, curated by Oriane Durand and Line Ebert, Sommer Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel; 4 ROSES, (with Kamilla Bischof), Pantaleonsmuehlengasse, Cologne, Germany (2017).