Bernhard Brungs, Junge Leserin (Susan Sontag), 2012
DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM is proud to present a solo exhibition, ON SUSAN SONTAG, with new works by artist Bernard Brungs, opening on Thursday, November 29th from 6-8 PM. Brungs’ new group of works is composed of 12 small and large format paintings concerning the life of American intellectual Susan Sontag. The exhibition is divided into three biographically arranged segments; each visualizes a scene from a key stage in Sontag’s life.
"We are never more speechless than in the act of admiration. Any attempt to describe why we are fascinated, it seems, inevitably circles back to a statement that feels a little helpless: the observation that “we are fascinated.” […] This zero point of speech that marks the admirer’s desire is what Bernhard Brungs’s pictures of poets, philosophers, and intellectuals home in on. We are confronted with such speechlessness in the groups of works in which the artist engages with Baudelaire, Genet, and Rimbaud, as well as in those devoted to the German expressionists around Else Lasker-Schüler, Georg Trakl, and Hugo Ball, to Ludwig Wittgenstein and Virginia Woolf.
“As the works Brungs has created over the course of the past year suggest, he must have harbored a fascination of this sort for the American intellectual Susan Sontag for some time. As with the characters in his earlier series, he not only read the writer’s essays, novels, and diaries closely and watched her films, he also studied her life—a life shaped by inspiring fearlessness and impressive self-determination, but also by discontinuities, efforts to mythologize herself, and the strategic dissemination of untruths. In his Sontag pictures, Brungs’s object seems to be to penetrate to the core of his legendary model’s charisma, a fusion of intellectual prowess and involvement in the salient tendencies of her time, with a particular affinity for the glamorous—a charisma that fascinated artists like Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and Annie Leibovitz before him; to this day, generations of readers have identified with Sontag. […]"
Text excerpts from the exhibition catalogue essay “After Words – Bernhard Brungs’s Pictures of Admiration” by Daniel Schreiber. Daniel Schreiber is the author of the biography “Susan Sontag – Geist und Glamour,” Aufbau publishers, 2007.