Saturday 30 October 2010

Morton Bartlett @ Linn Lühn Gallery

October 30 – December 22, 2010

Further images at: Linn Lühn - Cologne

Photo: Courtesy Galerie Susanne Zander, Cologne / Linn Lühn, Cologne

Morton Bartlett's (1909 - 1992) work ultimately surfaced in its totality only after his death. He was a private, inconspicuous man whose passion was creating a fantasy family - a superlative group of perfectly self-sculpted children, aged mainly 6 -17, wearing meticulously hand-made clothes and specially constructed wigs. Bartlett first began to make his dolls in 1936, the same year that Hans Bellmers book The Doll was published in Paris. His pencil drawings of young girls, the hand-made dolls and the staged photographs of his beloved children, all key elements of an artificial paradise which fascinates and repells at once and which lend insight into the work of a Gepetto of lost children, a man himself an orphan.

Christoph Schellberg has selected six of Bartlett's drawings to show them alongside three formerly unseen photographic works by Düsseldorf based artist Thomas Ruff's - the blurred, pixelated internet-blow ups "Nudes" (2009) - in an exhibition which draws new light in the respective work by juxtaposition and which suceeds in opening up surprisingly subtle paralells. Ruff's porn stars bodies are blurred to the point of abstraction, lending the brute explicitness of porn the spectral qualities of fantasy. United in Linn Lühn's cool, geometric gallery space two artist of different times and discursive background offer very distinct media of projection for desire or the detachment of such, both toying with voyeurism and questioning the beholder's sense of perception and intimacy.

Text: Monika Koencke

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