he thirteen works selected for this exhibition at the Mart, the first museum in Europe to offer a one-man show of the artist’s production, show us a Dana Schutz in the guise of interpreter of a figurative style associated in many ways with the best European tradition.
Her paintings, which make use of dazzling colours and forms that recall the pictorial research of Philip Guston, always depict bodies involved in a violent and grotesque action, effected by isolated individuals or enigmatic multitudes. In most of the works exhibited at the Mart, we will see not the Self-Eaters that have characterised Dana Schutz’s recent production, but instead solitary figures involved in brutal, compulsive multi-tasking actions – as in "Swimming, Smoking, Crying" or "Shaking, Cooking, Peeing" – or overwhelmed by corporeal modifications effected by the exterior through the most sensitive organs: mouth, fingers and eyes, as in "Bird in Throat", "Finger in Fan", and "Poke".
In the Mart exhibition, the critical work aims to examine the genesis of this highly enigmatic painting. Dana Schutz maintains that she seeks a form of painting that “floats" inside and outside painterly genres. The still lifes become personified, the portraits become events, and the landscapes become architecture. One thing that is certain is that Schutz has always refused the label of surrealist painter, and her inclusion in the great tradition of American expressionism appears equally forced.
Curated by Gabriella Belli