Elvira Bach (born in 1951 in Bad Neuenhain, Germany), studied under Hann Trier at the Hochschule der Künste (Berlin University of the Arts) between 1972 and 1978. As part of the “Junge Wilde” (“Wild Youths”) and after receiving an invitation to Documenta 7 in 1982, she quickly gained national and international recognition, advancing to become one of Germany’s most well known painters.
From the beginning, Bach’s artistic works focused on women in all their human facets, in their power and strength, as well as vulnerability and fragility; but always and foremost, as autonomous and independent individuals. Elvira Bach put women center stage, gave them broad shoulders and large hands, adorning them with sensuality and strength. Her paintings are beacons of feminine power.
From 1978 onward, Bach created her first “self portraits”, her trademark then and now. In these pieces, she explores a particular existential phenomenon that would appear throughout the entirety of her work: the Self in all its ambivalence. This was not only an examination of the private and personal, but also in reference to the archetypal “Daughters of Eve”. Passion, joy, misery, sorrow, fear, or loneliness reflect in these portraits, walking a tightrope between disguise and self-revelation. Whether as Femme Fatale or snake charmer, this fascinating mix of melancholy and irony, erotic and exotic, is unmistakably Elvira Bach.
Berlin itself also played a part. Venues such as SO36, das Exil, and the Schaubühne am Halleschen Ufer created a broad field for experimentation. For Elvira Bach, the City of Berlin became a “fifth season”, a place of inspiration, of interesting and moving people, a city of awakenings.
68projects will exhibit the early masterpieces of this exceptional artist, created between 1978 and 1990; presenting, as well, just how current her works are in a world moving faster and faster, where more and more challenges are put upon humanity. In this world, her women are like anchors, and the oeuvre of Elvira Bach is as contemporary as it ever was. Social networks and political change have put the individual and one’s needs into particular question.