Solo show / Opening 02/19/2016 + 7pm Katharina Arndt: EVE + ADAM
EVE + ADAM
19/02/2016 + 7 pm
In her artistic work, Katharina Arndt discusses western man and woman as consumer-individuals.
EVE + ADAM is the title of her solo exhibition, in which the artist traces an arc from the beginnings of Western Christian culture to the consumerist present. It reveals a reflective, critical and ironic view of current social issues and trends such decadence, materialism, egocentricity, changing gender roles and fear of aging.
The central diptych EVE + ADAM shows a life-size, laughing couple, painted with markers and acrylic on tarpaulin. The biblical figures Adam and Eve are depicted as young dark-skinned butchers in neon yellow aprons.
According to Christian tradition, Adam and Eve are the first human couple, created directly by God, and therefore the original parents of all mankind. Their heavenly idyll is shattered when Eve persuades Adam to taste a forbidden apple from the Tree of Knowledge, because God's punishment is terrible. He drives them both from the Garden of Eden, and sin enters the world. A motif handed down over centuries, Adam and Eve are almost always shown naked and with symbolic attributes: Adam right, the first man; and Eve, left, created from a rib of Adam, and holding the apple symbolizing original sin.
Katharina Arndt's young couple EVE + ADAM breaks with almost all iconographic traditions: It first shows Eve, then Adam, alluding to a shift in gender roles and at the same time Eve's status as "mother of all mankind." She no longer has an apple in her hand, symbolic of the Fall, but instead is holding a rib. Furthermore, the couple is black rather than white. Alongside other contexts there lies herein a reference to the scientifically proven African origin of mankind. On the other hand, the Darwinian approach to human evolutionary history is atheist rather than biblical or religious; but only he answers the questions of where we come from and why we became who we are. Katharina Arndt also alludes to the current and secular aspect of the human condition via the clothing of the EVE + ADAM couple. They are no longer naked. They are also no longer innocent, no longer without a job. "Armed" with two butcher's knives, the line between civilized and peaceful could be crossed at any time. The dark-skinned EVE + ADAM are beyond paradise and divine-religious worldviews. They are now situated in a civilized, secular, multiethnic society.
The central diptych is flanked by two meat still life works to the left and two sculptures to the right.
Katharina Arndt's sausage mountains in neon colours join postmodern means with a long tradition of still life painting, and give rise to associations with both sacrificial offering and traditional hunting still lifes. They also illustrate the immoderate appetite for meat in the western world: meat as "nature morte", fine food and status symbol.
On the other side of the room a silver walking frame and pink-coloured assistant are juxtaposed, both elaborately and perfectly painted. The objects are positioned in front of a turquoise sports fabric which immediately evokes aerobics. This closes a substantive circle which from its origin points towards the inevitability of death and is also symbolic of aging and progressive decay.
A sparkling light blue BUY NOW button presides over the entire exhibition, enthroned in the manner of the Holy Spirit in traditional Christian representations of the Trinity. Consumerism is exposed as a refuge and a means of compensating for loss of meaning in the atheistic world. In this world, materialistic status symbols replace a religious worldview. However, humanity today is now free of original sin and the prospect of penance in an otherworldly hell. But paradise has also been taken away.