From the outset of her studies, Pakosta has created political and socially relevant works in which she above all reacts to the discrimination of women in the art scene. She began with milieu studies in Vienna and later devoted herself to human physiognomy and body language as an expression of gender-coded power structures. Working in a Surrealist manner, she combines the physiognomies with vices, saws, knives or toilet seats, reshapes lips into bird beaks or depicts fists growing from a nose. She studies male grimaces in large-scale drawings in the style of the German-Austrian sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736 – 1783) and draws a series of nine large portraits of public male personalities.
In her Product Landscapes and Crowds of People from the 1980s, she addresses the disappearance of the subject in paintings that awakens associations to Nazi concentration camps. She works on abstract compositions since the 1990s that for the most part are reduced down to three colours (Tricolour Paintings). With colour combinations that often reach the threshold of pain and beam compositions that present themselves to the viewer as impenetrable barriers, they are picture of our time’s painfully destructive developments and aggressive potentials over and above anecdotal narration.
Parallel to her artistic oeuvre, Florentina Pakosta has frequently also written short stories and in part biting humorous texts with a keen feminist undertone.
After major Viennese exhibitions in the Albertina (2004) and the Leopold Museum (2011), this is Florentina Pakosta’s first show in Germany. Along with Maria Lassnig and VALIE EXPORT, she is one of Austria’s most important exponents of committed feminist art.
Curators: Dr Reinhard Spieler (Sprengel Museum Hannover), Elsy Lahner (Albertina Vienna)
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