A Portrait in Fragments

Upcoming Exhibition

A Portrait in Fragments
Patricia L. Boyd, Moyra Davey, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Hervé Guibert, Pope.L, Monica Majoli, Maggie Lee


Opening: Friday, June 28, 2024, 6-10 pm

A Portrait in Fragments is a reflection on biographical spaces, memory, and the physical and immaterial traces that the self leaves behind in the world. The group exhibition explores the plurality, multifacetedness, and porosity of biographical experience, which unfolds in moments of introspection and self-observation, but also in the encounter with external (and imagined) worlds and with others. It is this double movement – between intimacy and externalization, and between the gaze unto oneself and the gaze unto (fictional) others – that is repeatedly observed and taken up in the exhibition. The psychoanalytic concept of extimacy refers on the one hand to the intimacy of what is external, foreign, and non-identical to us, and on the other to the desire of the inner self to externalize, expose, and perform itself in the external world. The exhibited works thus locate the biographical in different places: at times it is found in psychic depth and imagined landscapes, at others on the surface and in the trivial – in a piece of clothing, a latex object, a bag, or an apartment key. Throughout the exhibition, sexuality and the erotic further emerge as moments of intensive externalization and opening up of the self.

The biographical has a different presence and intensity across A Portrait in Fragments: Some of the exhibited works unfold in the fragmentary, small, and incidental, and in snapshots and remnants of a personal life that confront us with moments of absence and emptiness. What remains are traces pointing to absent characters, and to the coordinates of a life whose spirit can still be felt and hangs across the rooms of the Kunstverein like a memory. And there are other works that rather seek presence and make present, looking for a performance and a staging of the self. More panoramic and extensive than fragmentary, these stagings and stages allow real and imaginary characters to encounter one another and the possibility of a fictional plot and a dialogue to emerge, dissolving the limits of biographical time and space.

In A Portrait in Fragments, a shared desire can be felt for the montage and treatment of (fictional) biographical material, which is photographed, collaged, exposed, performed, and re-performed. The process of montage thus becomes a possibility to view this material differently, to write a new script, and to create connections and cuts that are invisible, unconscious, concealed, latent, and desirable. It is at this threshold between biography and fiction that the images, objects, and diorama in the exhibition take on lives of their own, as they begin to become narrative scripts for a possible biography – producing new openings, perspectives, and desires.

Various events will accompany the exhibition, including a conversation with Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster on September 22, 2024.

Curated by Kathrin Bentele

The exhibition is supported by Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf and SIGMA. Stadtwerke Düsseldorf is a permanent partner of the Kunstverein.