Throughout art history, artists have been addressing the social, cultural and political complexities to reflect their respective times. Living and working across various epochs and continents, Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein and Robert Longo have all experienced the turbulence of their century, such as the seismic effects of revolution, civil rights movement and war.
The work of these three artists will be brought together in an upcoming exhibition at Deichtorhallen. Titled PROOF: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo, the exhibition will present each artist's interpretations of the social effects of politics and power. Experimenting with narrative image forms in a variety of ways, each of these artists captured current events and created a passionate portrait of the world around them.
The most important Spanish artist of late 18th and early 19th centuries, Francisco Goya was a tireless commentator and chronicler of his era. Among his most important works is a series of eighty-five prints called The Disasters of War executed between 1810 and 1820, presenting his account of the atrocities witnessed during Spain's struggle for independence from France.
A true giant of world cinema, Sergei Eisenstein had a pivotal role in crafting the visual language of screen storytelling. He is best known for the ground-breaking silent montage film Battleship Potemkin from 1925, with which Soviet cinema took a central place on the world scene. Using the events of the 1905 rebellion against czarist troops in the port of Odessa, he gave meaning to the Russian Revolution of 1917.
An acclaimed American painter and sculptor, Robert Longo is known for his epic narrative strength. Having profound ability to depict complex psychological states, his work strikes a balance between the very personal and the socially charged, reflecting the world we live in today.
Working across media, from painting and printmaking to sculpture, film and performance, Goya, Eisenstein and Longo reflected the times with their work. Choosing the medium of printmaking, Goya created socially critical series of work, painting a haunting image of war. On loan from the Central State Museum of Contemporary History, the exhibition will feature over fifty etchings from four Goya's bodies of work.
In addition to a selection of Eisenstein's films that will be projected in slow motion, the show will present more than forty of his sketches. Provided by international collections, the show will feature about twenty of Longo's large-scale drawings created during the last seven years, depicting burning themes such as terrorism, refugee migrations, modern warfare and power.
The exhibition PROOF: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo will be on view at Deichtorhallen in Hamburg from February 17th until May 27th, 2018. Created in collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum in New York and the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, it is curated by Kate Fowle, the Chief Curator at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and Robert Longo.
The show is accompanied by a catalog with essays by Kate Fowle, Nancy Spector (Artistic Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum) and contributions by journalist, activist and author Chris Hedges, artist Vadim Zakharov and an interview with Robert Longo.
Featured images: Francisco Goya - The agility and audacity of Juanito Apiñani in [the ring] at Madrid from La Tauromaquia. Plate 20, Etching and aquatint on paper, 34.8 × 44.8 cm (133⁄4 × 175⁄8 inches). State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, Moscow; And it cannot be helped from Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War, 1810-1820). Plate 15, Etching and aquatint on paper, 27 × 37 cm (105⁄8 × 141⁄2 inches). State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, Moscow; Sergej Eisenstein - Strike, USSR 1924. Director: Sergei Eisenstein, Screenplay: Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Ilya Kravchunovsky, Valerian Pletnev, Producer: Boris Mikhin, Cinematography: Vasili Khvatov, Eduard Tisse, Music: Sergei Prokofiev, Artistic director: Vasili Rakhals, Premiere: April 28, 1925, Duration: 82’, Gosfilmofond of Russia, Moscow; Ivan the Terrible, USSR, 1944. Director: Sergei Eisenstein, Screenplay: Sergei Eisenstein, Cinematography: Eduard Tisse, Andrei Moskvin, Music: Sergei Prokofiev, Artistic director: Iosif Shpinel, Premiere: January 20, 1945, duration: 100’, Gosfilmofond of Russia, Moscow; Robert Longo - Untitled (American Bald Eagle) 2017. Charcoal on mounted paper, 117,8 x 226,1 cm. Ståhl Collection, Norrköping, Sweden © Robert Longo. All images courtesy of Deichtorhallen.