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Cecily Brown's Human Conflicts at the Louisiana Museum

  • Cecily Brown - Untitled (CB 1377), 2018
November 9, 2018
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

The contemporary painting is offering a multitude of approaches in a formal and conceptual sense and is often embedded in inherited painterly patterns, which are then renewed depending from the artists’ agenda. What makes a painting in present times so interesting is the way it corresponds with reality regardless of aesthetics.

For more than twenty years, British-born American artist Cecily Brown has been producing works in the intersection between figuration and abstraction focusing on the representations of corporeality. In order to explore and reanalyze the domains of Brown’s oeuvre, the Louisiana Museum of Art in Denmark decided to release the retrospective exhibition and her first European museum presentation.

Cecily Brown - Girl on a Swing
Cecily Brown – Girl on a Swing, 2004. Oil on linen, 182 × 243 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collectors Committee, 2015. © Cecily Brown. Photo: Robert McKeever

The Gendered Explorations of Cecily Brown

Throughout the years, Cecily Brown has been dealing with different social and even political topics, yet the focal points of her practice are the deconstruction of traditional gender roles, the restless erotic energy and the political implications of everyday life. The narratives Brown creates are saturated with ironic commentary on heroism, pornography, and human conflicts.

The title of the exhibition Where, When, How Often and with Whom is borrowed from a grand triptych produced in 2017, which signifies the specificities of emotional and sexual interactions among human beings. This piece, as well as others on view, do not ask questions nor offer answers; they can be perceived as sketches of the current social status.

In an interview for Louisiana Magazine, Cecily Brown underlined the importance of a stone she found on the beach at Louisiana and press photos from ongoing global conflicts for the process.

Cecily Brown - Untitled
Cecily Brown – Untitled (CB 1350). Monotype, oil on Lanaquarelle paper, 78,7 × 109,2 cm (31 × 43 in.) © Cecily Brown. Courtesy of the artist and Two Palms Press, New York. Photo: Brandon Israels & Doug Volle

The Selected Works

Along with the mentioned work, a full number of thirty-five paintings of all sizes will be on display, as well as eighty drawings and monotypes, and a selection of source-images from her studio archives. The whole selection will show Brown’s fascination with both the Old masters such as Bruegel or Manet and modern artists like Francis Bacon and Willem de Kooning.

Led by the belief that the body is a bearer of meaning, Brown produces multilayered images in which the distorted, depersonalized bodies are lurking in a search for a communication with the viewer.

Cecily Brown - All the Nightmares Came Today
Cecily Brown – All the Nightmares Came Today, 2012. Oil on linen, 170,2 × 211 cm (67 × 83 1/16 in.). Iris & Matthew Strauss Collection, Rancho Santa Fe, California © Cecily Brown. Photo: Robert McKeever

Cecily Brown at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Interestingly so, this particular exhibition is a continuation of the museum’s series of retrospectives of the contemporary painters such as Peter Doig, Daniel Richter and Tal R. It will be followed by a richly illustrated catalog with essays by the art critic Terry R. Myers, the Pulitzer prizewinner Hilton Als, the curator of the exhibition Anders Kold, and Louisiana editor Lærke Rydal Jørgensen.

Where, When, How Often and with Whom will be on display at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark until 3 March 2019.

Featured image: Cecily Brown – Untitled (CB 1377), 2018. Monotype, oil on Lanaquarelle paper, 58,4 × 78,7 cm (23 × 31 in.) © Cecily Brown. Courtesy of the artist and Two Palms Press, New York. Photo: Brandon Israels & Doug Volle. All images courtesy the Louisiana Museum of Art Denmark.