oh man, I went to an art show…
Jen Mann’s current exhibition at the Neubacher Shor Contemporary in Toronto opened their doors to the public two days ago. I attended and I’m stuck, between admiration and frustration.
Mann, tries to discuss themes of Identity and Relationship, says the online portfolio. I do admire some of her work; the way she projects herself onto a canvass caused serious goose bumps and the richness of detail and the perfection she maintains while drawing her hair is insane, but so is the estimated value of the following art work: 35.000 Dollar!
back to the beginning. with child’s eyes I walk through the entrance and find the first selfie. I’m attracted. the more wool on somebody’s head the better. and she has great hair. I’m floating and find more self portraits, all well done, but who’s going to buy them? my friend explains, that ‘connoisseurs’ usually would not hang a giant portrait of the favoured painter in their living room, it might be decorative, but awkward.
I just heard, that Edward Munch was already considered a classicist of the art epoch. while he was alive. galleries of course have an interest in getting self portraits of rising stars like Munch, before they price explodes. a starlet like Jen Mann has obviously still a long way to go, that’s why I’m slightly confused by the selfies outnumbering the rest of the works. I mean, you gotta pay your bills and if your job is being a painter, you wanna sell your paintings. I guess it’s just statistics and there are people out there, who would actually purchase one, because they don’t know what to do with their money, or they’re just drunk enough to socialise a little bit over the top – who knows?
the show as one piece – of course – follows a concept, you follow. to satisfy the audience, to satisfy me. it works, I’m happy with what I see, I am attracted and suddenly trapped, when I enter the next room and find the price list.
thirtyfivethousanddollars for a contemporary art dyphtic? I’m overwhelmed, forget to breath and start thinking about the art market? why is that so?
ok, let’s say the self portraits don’t sell, what you need is a decorative piece of work, somebody is willing to pay a lot of money for. but what you need in addition is space, at least high ceilings to hang it – with that comes a certain income, unless you have a farm – with a barn. the concept of the whole exhibition is leading me inevitable to these two paintings. I don’t wanna judge them, because my knowledge in terms of contemporary art is, well, limited, but I do notice, that the wall behind me is white, no art work, so I lean on it, getting enough space to fill my vision with these two paintings and I assume the curator took this into consideration. I was brought here to the treasure at the end of the rainbow (literally), unfortunately I forgot to bring the pot of gold.
Jen Mann’s current work leaves me with the impression, that art is more a business, than a playground for those of the weird kind, who express themselves through art to deliver a message, or find, I don’t know, maybe relief? In the end it’s all about selling yourself, investing in space, where you present yourself, to socialise with the right people and eventually become a respected part of a blurry art scene that is chasing itself to find the new, the sensational.
Mann is dealing with essential questions like ‘Who am I? Who are you? What does life mean? Why am I alive?’. I was dealing with the question, if she’s aware of the momentariness of the art world nowadays and just doesn’t take it too serious, or if she’s just trying to add business to her work, and calculates a big show like that as an investment for a bigger, better, selfier future?
expressing herself through portraits, she reveals issues coming deep from her soul, looking at them I almost have the experience of being able to touch her feelings, but the end of the journey is, unfortunately, just pale.
‘Mann looks deeply at identity and relationships, and how we understand others through understanding ourselves.’ the (blue/white wave) painting above is titled ‘U & Me Forever’ – sorry Mann, U & Me Never! I’m not buying it.
[Nikon D300/35-105mm_3.5]View other posts by Muli Muli