The three artists, who have never actually met in person, are usually attributed to quite different contexts, not only because of the media in which they work, but also because of their different generations. Nevertheless, surprising parallels between the two oeuvres can be observed in this exhibition, such as the ironic-critical questioning of (petit) bourgeois values and pseudo-esoteric ideas.
The artist couple Anna Blume (1936‒2020) and Bernhard Johannes Blume (1937‒2011) significantly expanded the genre of staged photography and are among its most internationally renowned representatives. In their black-and-white photo series, often consisting of several parts, the artist couple narrates staged sequences of time featuring themselves as the protagonists. With an impressive topicality, the artists deal with themes of identity, gender and class-specific taste. Deformation and metaphor, subjective perception and collective sets of rules are thematized and thus also touch on the question of whether the limits of the visible also set the limits of experience.
Moments of idiosyncrasy and whimsicality also characterize the work of the British artist Des Hughes (b. 1970), who combines writing and motifs in his embroidery works to create humorous and enigmatic pieces. Subversive and light-footed, they are reminiscent of the aphorisms of past generations that so essentially shaped the bourgeois self-image, yet deal with the hardships and entanglements of contemporary life. Ingeniously, the embroideries of Des Hughes evoke the repressed and the work ethic of contemporary life with its promise of transparency, as expressed in the eponymous work Never Try Never Fail.
We know the revenant of the motto as a digital meme, an ironic image‒text combination, mainly popularized by and widely shared on social media. Des Hughes’ embroidered work links the irony of meme culture with the handmade and homely, interrogating the role of gender ascription in what has been called handmade and homework.