Press release Nina Childress “Der grüne Vorhang” (The Green Curtain)

Exhibition opening: Friday, 26 April 2013, 18:00 onwards
Duration: 27 April to August 10, 2013
Berlin Gallery Weekend: open Saturday and Sunday 11:00-18:00

Nina Childress was born in Pasadena (USA) in 1961 and has lived in Paris since she was 5 years old. She was, among other things, a member of the artist collective “Les Frères Ripoulin” and, in 1980, founded the post-punk band “Lucrate Milk”, so that she was part of two of the most influential groups of the Paris art scene of the 1980s.

As part of the Berlin Gallery Weekend and following her initial exhibition in the gallery in 2010, then still at the Karlsruhe location, I once again present an exhibition where the colour green acts as an all-embracing frame: The Green Curtain.

In her latest pieces, which have been created in the past two years, Childress explores the work of pantomime-teacher Etienne Decroux (1898-1991) and also the question of how the body is portrayed in art.

The result of this research are works which initially might not satisfy the viewer's expectations. On Childress' canvas we see no glamorous stages, no clever costumes. Rather are there depictions of figures which seem to pose in front of a plain green curtain like stone statues. The curtain takes on the leading role, it appears three-dimensional and alive, it lures us into observing a rehearsal, where we are alone with the protagonist – like voyeurs watching events from a darkened auditorium.

In the main work of the exhibition – The Green Curtain – Childress heightens the disentanglement from the noisy and bustling scene of a vaudeville show by using the painting of a green curtain to cover a large wall space. In front of this she succinctly places a painting in which, in turn, we see three mimes rehearsing an imaginary dance in front of this very curtain. The erotic effect of the almost naked bodies is broken by the ordinary underwear they are sporting and the scene takes on an almost ridiculous turn. With her unceremonious depiction Nina Childress creates a state of uncertainty which hovers between between eroticism and comicality. At the same time she demystifies the artists and reveals their genuine vulnerability.

The omnipresence of the stage, of show business, thwarts artistic freedom; despite the personality cult the real protagonists are actually marginalised, they are robbed of their charisma and their allure.