MADONNA PSYCHO SLUT curated by Despina Stokou
Artists: Ada Van Hoorebeke, Alicjia Kwade, Alisa Margolis, Annika Larsson, Angela Liosi, Anouk Kruitof, Catherine Lorent, Danae Nagel, Despina Stokou, Elna Hagemann, Hadassah Emmerich, Iris Van Dongen, Kimberly Clark, Kirstine Roepstorff, Nuri Koerfer, Olivia Berckemeyer, Rallou Panagiotou, Sabrina Jung, Sibylla Dumke, Yvonne Roeb, Wafae Ahalouch
This exhibition is a hommage to Luise Grimm, a Berlin painter who lived and worked in the building on Fichte Str. 2 for 28 years.
He says: “I am not the one-nightstand kind of guy.” I say: “I am not the one-nightstand kind of girl either.” He says: “I just cannot do it.” I say: ” Well…you know, it is not as if you plan these things…it just happens sometimes; mostly you don’t even know it is going to be just one night, until after, well, that first night.” I laugh. He stares in his glass. He says: “How often has it happened to you then?” I say: “How often is often for you?” He hesitates. I hesitate. He looks upset. I say: “How often would you like it to have happened then?” He says: “I would prefer you were a virgin.”
I talk to this guy at the bar, I say: “Ah, you are in the movie industry; that must be interesting!” He says: “Oh well, actually I am more into the money making part of movies” I say: “Oh I see.” He says: ”Well, you know; I am mostly doing ads.” I say nothing; He says: “OK! I am a money making whore!”
What has become known as the Madonna-Whore split was first introduced by Sigmund Freud in 1910 in one of his less known essays, claiming that male sexual behaviour in the Civilized (Western) World bears the stamp of psychical impotence. Freud, though strongly criticized for his phallocentric psychoanalytical theory, (accidentally?) succeeds in this case in defining a very common sexual double standard, restricting women’s role in all religious and social systems throughout history, as a mere problem in male sexual development. Some of the most popular examples of this complex in recent history are Elvis, The Catcher in the Rye and Trey from Sex and the City.
At the age of 24 Luise asked her father how she could promote her paintings in the art market. He told her to let those who are poor worry about selling and making money; she can rely on the family money. Four years later the family business collapsed. Luise earned her money painting flowers and portraits on commission, arranged by her second husband. She divorced her first husband as a Nazi sympathizer in 1939; the same year Freud, suffering from oral cancer, committed suicide with an overdose of morphine in his London exile.
In 1963 following her second husband’s death, Luise moved into the floor upstairs on Fichte Str2 and started working in a factory to complement her pension. The same year the later popular British artist Tracey Emin was born in London. In 1972 Luise finally secured a living and started working on a series of her most important works; they were exhibited under the title Eins in her first big gallery show in 1983 in Berlin. During those 10 years most of the artists of this exhibition were born around Europe, Russia and Morocco. None of them lived in Berlin during Luise’s lifetime.
In 1991 most of the artists of the show were still virgins. One of them travelled to Moscow with her school, one of them completed the Annapurna Trek in Nepal, one of them flew vomit free for the first time, one gave up ballet for basket ball, one played football non stop, another masturbated nonstop, one loved the Cure, one loved the Bangles, one won the first price in her catholic girl school for covering John Lennon’s Imagine. The youngest of them turned three years old.
Luise Grimm died.
A year earlier, in 1990, the Turner Prize nomination of the now 36year old Tracey Emin is announced during her first solo exhibition in New York. The show includes a neon sculpture announcing the dimensions of her boyfriend’s penis and a huge appliquéd blanket of bright felt titled Psycho Slut. I saw a picture of this work, while preparing for this exhibition in the catalogue I have: Women Artists of the 20th and 21stcentury. I am kind of embarrassed owning such a catalogue. I bought it half price.