Untitled (A woman must be loved – and she must know that she is loved), 1978
Photowork, 181 x 140 cm
Since 2019 Michael & Eleonore Stoffel Foundation, Bavarian State Painting Collections, Munich
Photo: Sprüth Magers
© Astrid Klein
ASTRID KLEIN. DASS VOLLKOMMENE LIEBE DIE ANGST AUSTREIBE (THAT PERFECT LOVE DRIVE OUT FEAR)Pinakothek der Moderne | Kunst
Collection+ | Gallery 27 and Wall east staircase
Astrid Klein (born 1951) is one of the most important voices in German post-war and contemporary art. A key aspect throughout her work is its critical engagement with the political climate of post-war Germany and the Western world, with its fears and yearnings transmitted by the media across the globe. Astrid Klein explores power structures that both transcend boundaries and assume stereotypical forms, while herself adopting an artistic approach grounded in the critical scrutiny of conventional visual culture that draws on the insights of the psychology of perception. In this respect, her conceptual approach has much in common with that of her US contemporaries John Baldessari, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, and Richard Prince.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Michael & Eleonore Stoffel Foundation, five of Astrid Klein’s works were acquired in 2019 for the Sammlung Moderne Kunst at the Pinakothek der Moderne. Now boasting a collection of seven exhibits in the museum, a selection of these key photoworks and collages from Klein's oeuvre of the 1970s and 1980s is going on show for the first time. A large-scale installation by the artist will also be on display: formed of gunshot-pocked mirrors, the work confronts visitors with their own distorted reflection as they make their way up to the first floor.
Four of the five recently accessioned pieces by Astrid Klein have a particularly strong connection to That Perfect Love… (1979), a photographic work whose place in the collection predates the latest acquisitions. Among these is A Woman Must Be Loved, a work from 1978 that serves in its new context as a pendant both in terms of format and iconography. Both works show scenes of physical closeness between a man and a woman, while also laying bare the distress and appropriation of the woman’s body. The words emblazoned across each of the images read like the patronizing thoughts floating through the minds of the featured male protagonists. Astrid Klein here combines the expressive potency of an image with the pregnant power of the written word, and so demonstrates how readily we succumb to the illusion that text explains image and image illustrates text. The dissonance struck by the two types of expression activates the viewer’s perceptive powers, thus becoming the work’s actual theme.
Under the title Collection+, the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungene (Bavarian State Painting Collections) in the Pinakothek der Moderne will be presenting studio exhibitions within the context of the collection. Presentations of new acquisitions, loans and artist rooms reveal the laborious work involved in gathering, maintaining and researching the collections, shining a light on the scholarly investigations into them and their contemporary relevance.