Bodies in View: The Paintings of Sibylle Springer
As an artist, Sibylle Springer’s fascination is with the human body, or more precisely, with how the body is entangled with the gaze that is directed towards it and addressed to it. Her painting contemplates, unfolds and interprets this tense reciprocal relationship, which is fundamentally a self-relation, always already inscribed with an internal structure of refection, saturated in cultural history. Among other things, this means that despite the often direct and strongly afective impact of body-images, nothing about them is without preconditions and predeterminations. Innocent nakedness is just as much a construction as erotic sophistication. Whether artistic nude, pornography or biological objectivity, ethnologically other or historically estranged, ugly or beautiful, none of them are inherently ‘natural’, ‘obscene’, ‘objective’ or ‘revolting’.
In this much, Springer’s aesthetic project is at heart always a refection on the gaze: from this standpoint, it goes on to refect on painting, and its styles, visual traditions and subject matters.