Justine Otto: hyder flares
Thursday, 20 August 2015 – Friday, 4 September 2015
Goethe-Institut Washington, FotoGalerie
+ 1 (202) 289-1200
Opening on Thursday, August 20, 6 – 9 pm with artist Justine Otto
Followed by a concert at 7:30 pm with jazz trio:
Michael Formanek – bass (USA)
Eric Kennedy – drums (USA)
And surprise guest from Germany (alto saxophone)
Leading contemporary figurative painter Polish-born German artist Justine Otto (b. 1974) won the Phillips Collection’s second annual Emerging Artist Prize following Washington’s 2014 (e)merge art fair. Her representational pictures literally burn themselves into the viewer’s retina, simultaneously fascinating and disturbing. Justine Otto has received a number of stipends and other prizes, including the 2011 Lüneburg Region Culture Advancement Award and a 2013 Frankfurt Lions Club Prize.
The exhibition will be introduced by Vesela Sretenovic, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Phillips Collection
Real and unreal elements are packed into Otto’s pictorial worlds, creating a disturbing atmosphere whose “temperature is on the verge of freezing” (Jean-Christophe Ammann). Even her voluptuously beautiful style of painting, which makes her works so unique, doesn’t succeed in dispersing a feeling of confusion. Otto drags the observer into fascinating, shocking visions, abandoning him in the midst of fundamental questions of human existence such as fear, sorry, and mortality. She depicts tension-filled encounters between nature and civilization. The motifs of this bizarre universe reference experiences the artist has had and the influence of stories by authors such as T.C. Boyle. The images present a unique, poetic reality full of bleak loneliness and absurdity. – Dr. Susanne Pfleger
Her works, which are primarily on exhibition at the Hamburg-based gallery polarraum, are figurative paintings which show some affinities with the so-called New Leipzig School of painting, although Otto studied at the Städelschule, the prestigious art academy in Frankfurt, and lives and works in Hamburg. Like the most prominent protagonist of the Leipzig school, Neo Rauch, Otto’s paintings, most of which are based on found photographs, owe some debt to both social realist painting and surrealism. However, Otto paints in a more expressionist style, with looser brushstrokes, and her paintings mostly depict women, children, and animals, creating narratives that are both puzzling and intriguing. – Klaus Ottmann
Made possible with support from Friends of the Goethe-Institut.
Gallery hours: M-Th 9-5; F 9-3