OPEN SPACE 6: MATTHIAS HAMANN, CHRISTIAN KUHN | On Sexual Identity of Gay Men
Opening: Saturday, 6 March 2010, 7 p.m.
Exhibition: 10 March - 1 April 2010
Curated by Ingo Taubhorn
Curated by Ingo Taubhorn
With the exhibition On the Sexual Identity of Gay Men, we are pleased to continue our series Open Space with guest curators. The current exhibition is curated by Ingo Taubhorn (Haus der Photographie, Hamburg) with works by Matthias Hamann and Christian Kuhn.
Ingo Taubhorn’s monograph »Mensch Mann«, a photographic stock-taking of male identity, appeared in the mid-1980s. The following years saw the development of the work group »VaterMutterIch«, which was designed as work in progress and – unlike the staged nudes – shows imagery from Taubhorns immediate reality. A form of archive, it is continually recompiled for presentation. Apart from the new formal approach, deliberately unsettling between fiction and documentation, the topic of identity is extended to include the term »family«.
Artist and curator, Ingo Taubhorn has invited two Berlin photographers from the younger generation to meet each other for the first time in a common exhibition space. This encounter is simultaneously dialogue and experiment. It introduces the artists Matthias Hamann and Christian Kuhn, both of whom focus in their photographic work on the sexual identity of people they are close to. Both draw from their own immediate experience and rather than pursuing an obviously documentary, enlightening style, oscillate between personal belief and a perception that is both poetic and glorified.
”I have met people so often who had a very special aura, who loved self-portrayal and dance between the sexes. I always felt that they were content in themselves, maybe because they confronted their sexual identity ata more intense level than others”, says Christian Kuhn about his work group ”Outside the Margin”. Matthias Hamann’s images, on the other hand, show – according to Arne Linde – the moment when illusion becomes porous: the optimal staging of physical beauty and sexual identity, of maleness, femininity or something inbetween.
The mostly coloured photographs are composed in a loose but carefully chosen order, happen upon each other unprepared and blur not only uncomplicated stories but also the unambiguousness of the authorship, so that in the end viewers can create their own projection space.
The title of the exhibition is a conscious reminder of a social debate that began in the early 1980s and as a result of the growing liberalization with regard to people who are lesbian, gay, transsexual and intersexual can almost be seen today as outdated.
Since the omnipresent aesthetics of photography, television, cinema, music videos, advertisements and other modern media such as the Internet deliberately or otherwise determine this kind of individuality and physical expression more strongly than in the 1980s and 1990s, it can legitimately be asked what the deficits of authentic, “real” experience are. For occasionally personality can only be understood as the result of mass media reception and construction, as “borrowed identity”.