Technical Bodies

Anything mechanical almost automatically evokes associations with maleness. Man and machine seem to be more closely bound than woman and machine. Bettina von Arnim’s machine men substantiate this conception, but only at first glance. The creatures painted in bright colours are other-worldly; their bodies are nearly completely automatons with a minimum of human features. In contrast, Kiki Kogelnik’s works, which are based on Pop Art, show the female body as a product. At the same time, she reflects on how contraceptives intervene in the female hormonal system. Their segmented bodies are chemically and technically controlled and sexualised. The works by Maria Lassnig, Eva Hesse and Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven focus on the limitations of and modifications to the engineered body. They are metaphorical bodies that communicate how the "Körpergehäuse” (body shell, M. Lassnig) is actually or even imaginarily altered by technical influences.

Bettina von Arnim
Close Cycle Man, 1969
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019
Foto: Städel Museum – ARTOTHEK