Eight ‘-isms’, endless variety
‘Ideologism’, terrorism, territorialism, naturalism, animism, consumerism, ‘dystopism’ and ‘womanism’: these are the themes of the art exhibition.
“While the boundaries between reality and fiction are increasingly becoming blurred in a time of digital transformation, traditional ‘isms’ are being resorted to again in order to assert values and worldviews,” says Andrea Hilger, Director of the Ostrale.
Dresden’s version of the world-famous Documenta in Kassel aims to be politically astute, socially responsible and, above all, relevant – catching everything with a sweeping blow. The boxing gloves, which the woman is wearing in Janssen’s painting, also fit the mood. Although this detail seems to have been incorporated almost casually, it nevertheless underscores her proud attitude. All the determination and all of the fighting spirit are in her facial expression.
Janssen, whose style is otherwise photorealism and whose images contain references to Heavy Metal, horror and mystery, has opted for incompleteness in People Say I’m Different. The series of portraits arose from meetings with the Ugandan artist Christine Ayo. In a number of respects, they could be described as ‘sketchy’.
Janssen expresses her fascination with identities and how permeable these are. Because she maintains that the ‘I’ is something very porous. That identities blend. That every encounter leaves behind traces and changes a person. There is a ‘we’ that is in a constant state of flux. People Say I’m Different 4 has thus become the overarching theme for this year’s Ostrale. I, we, you, the others. Identity, separation, community, society. Around 180 artists have presented more than 300 works of art, putting their own slant on the theme. From painting to performance art and audio-visual installation, the Ostrale respects no boundaries between the genres – in the best sense of the word, it ‘sprawls’.