YU is thrilled to announce an exhibition of Marianne Wex’s photographic panels, to be presented for the first time in the United States.
Taking the form of large collaged panels, the exhibition observes the difference between the sexes through the poses and gestures of unwitting subjects. Interested in documenting the ways that social hierarchy defines gender roles, Marianne Wex photographed people on the streets of Hamburg, Germany from 1972 to 1977 and categorized them by their body language; sorting the photos by gender and according to the specific positioning of arms and legs, heads, shoulders, knees and toes. The panels are organized thematically, grouping the photographs by posture, separating male and female, and occasionally a few exceptions to the stereotypically gendered gestures. Wex supplemented her street photographs with advertisements, art historical reproductions, mail order catalogues and other media portraying different era’s ideals in beauty.
Wex’s work is at once conceptual art and historical documentation. It combines the art of photography, and appropriation of found images through a very scientific approach. In the context of the feminist movement of the 1970s, Wex’s approach is understood as an attempt to overcome the separation between the two conventional genders, and between the sciences and everyday existence. The photo panels were shown for the first time in 1977 as part of the exhibition Women Artists International 1877–1977 at NGBK in Berlin, and in addition to the installation Wex published a more extensive book titled Let’s Take Back Our Space: Female and Male Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures (1979).
Yale Union will exhibit Wex’s original photographic panels, in collaboration with the Bildwechsel Archive for Women in the Media Arts in Hamburg, Germany, where the panels are currently held, and participate in the archival preservation of this body of work, including the re-printing of the original book Let’s Take Back Our Space. YU will bring the artist to Portland to give a talk at the opening of the exhibition in October 2012.
Marianne Wex was born in 1937 in Hamburg, Germany, and now lives and works in Höhr-Grenzhausen (Westerwald). She studied art 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 (e.g., at NGBK, Berlin, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Bonner Kunstverein and ICA, London).
In July of this year, Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe, Germany) presented Wex in her first comprehensive solo exhibition in Germany since the 1970s. She is no longer a practicing artist.
Please join us for the opening reception on October 12th, 2012, 6:30pm, at YU.
EXHIBITION OPEN HOURS
October 12- November 30, 2012
Thursday - Saturday 12pm – 6pm