In this illustrated talk, writer and curator Mike Sperlinger will examine the work of the neglected artist/researcher/healer Marianne Wex.
During the early 1970s, Marianne Wex began to photograph people in the streets of her native Hamburg and then later to classify her images according to the body language she discovered. Over the course of more than five years, and thousands of images, she began to notice a profound difference between how men and women were occupying public space. To pursue her insights, Wex supplemented her own photographs with rephotographed images ranging from photojournalism to advertisements, art-historical reproductions, film stills, snapshots from family albums, pornography, etc. The result was an enormous hybrid body of research, part sociological study and part feminist polemic, which became an exhibition in the form of collaged photographic panels (first exhibited at the exhibition Women Artists International 1877–1977 in Berlin) and subsequently a groundbreaking book. Since the early 1980s, in response to her own health problems, Wex has moved from art practice into a self-healing practice which she continues to teach around the world.
Sperlinger, who has been working with Wex since 2009, will introduce her extraordinary work and discuss it in relation to contemporary feminism, the evolution of ’artistic research’, the cover of the Beatles’ album Help!, and the problem of male curators ‘rediscovering’ overlooked female artists.
Mike Sperlinger is currently Professor of Writing and Theory at the Oslo Academy of Art. He has written for magazines including frieze, Art Monthly, Radical Philosophy and Afterall, as well as numerous exhibition catalogues. He curated two exhibitions of Marianne Wex’s work, for Focal Point Gallery, Southend (2009) and the Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2012).