Hamburg artist Eglė Otto creates body pictures for the new contemporary understanding of gender: her painting has no need for clear categories. In her work, Eglė Otto moves from the figurative to the abstract, directing the gaze from the familiar into open areas where colours and forms no longer have to represent something. Entwined body members are blended with pure colour fields and exploratory outlines. For a few seconds, the eye is captured by something that appears to be explicit— a hand or a breast, a pregnant stomach nestling against a leg—but in the next moment the usual vocabulary of motifs seems to dissolve completely. Here dualistic ordering systems no longer apply. Eglė Otto’s visual language is as fluid as present-day conceptions of the subject.
Even the title of the forthcoming exhibition already indicates the ambiguity of Otto’s artistic practice: “Lex mihi ars”, Latin for “Let art be my law”, at first appears to be a rather highbrow phrase, but when said aloud it dispels any associations with a humanistic education.
When spoken, “Lex mihi ars” becomes “Leck mich am Arsch” (kiss my ass); the dramatic artist’s statement is revealed to be an impish rejection of the system. In much the same way as Otto’s painting produces ambiguous figures that dissolve just when one believes one has understood them, her handling of language remains ambivalent. She leaves the interpretation up to the person opposite the work.
Photos by Ralph Baiker