Yale Union (YU) is thrilled to announce the exhibition of Marianne Wex’s photographic panels that comprise the book Let’s Take Back Our Space: “Female” and “Male” Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures, to be presented for the first time in the United States.
October 12–November 30, 2012
Friday, October 12, 6:30pm
In some circles, Marianne Wex is famous for not being famous enough, in other circles she’s a sociological footnote, and in still other circles, she does not exist. Historical novelty is no more acceptable here than anywhere else, but every so often, some less-known work comes speaking to us so loudly that we rouse ourselves from the present torpor to plunge into the past tense.
Wex spent the early 1970s in Hamburg, Germany taking clandestine and banal photographs of men and women in public space. Then she reached out further and made photographs of advertisements, reproductions of Classical and Egyptian statuary, soft-core pornography, and stills from TV and film media, and herded all of it into categories: men standing, women standing, men sitting, women sitting, etc., and affixed those categories onto cardboard panels. These panels are not innocents. At the center of them is an argument about how we create and present ourselves, and the degree to which gender-specific conditioning and hierarchies are reflected through everyday pose, gesture, and pre-verbal communication. Though Wex’s photographic series was made explicitly for the middle of the 1970s, its fixations—self-representation and the performance of identity and gender—have not tired.
Marianne Wex was born in 1937 in Hamburg, and now lives in Höhr-Grenzhausen, Germany. She studied at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg and taught there from 1963 to 1980. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she showed her work in national and international solo and group exhibitions (including at NGBK Berlin, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Bonner Kunstverein, and ICA London). Wex’s photo panels were shown in 2009 at Focal Point Gallery in London and in 2012 at the Badischer Kunstverein in Karlsruhe, Germany. Yale Union presents the work of Marianne Wex for the first time in the United States.
The program will include a screening of Helke Sander’s film The All-Around Reduced Personality(1978) on Tuesday, October 30, 7pm; a reading by Chris Kraus on Sunday, November 4, 3pm; a screening of Chantal Akerman’s film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) at the Northwest Film Center on Tuesday, November 6, 7pm; and a talk by Avigail Moss on Sunday, November 18, 4pm.
This exhibition would not be possible without Mike Sperlinger; BILDWECHSEL, Hamburg; and the Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe.