Cat. CFA

Exhibition catalogue, edited by CFA
text (German/English) by Estelle Blaschke and Kito Nedo
64 p with 60 coloured illustrations
320 x 235 mm, hardcover

ISBN 978-3-86442-023-8

(out of print)

Contrasting foil

Our view of children and the way they are represented in art, be it in the early twentieth century or in the immediate present, invariably depict social reality as well. This is where the CFA exhibition in Berlin and now the accompanying catalogue take up the story, for example, with Paula Modersohn-Becker’s portraits of children, which not only play a prominent role in this artist’s brief oeuvre (from 1898 to 1907), but are also considered a turning point in the genre. Modersohn-Becker, native of Worpsweder, abandoned the myth of the carefree childhood: disregarding proper proportions, and moreover, with an unprecedented bold use of colour and form, she painted woefully introverted children in all their distress and neglect. The title of the e­hibition, based on the epochal youth film »Kids« by Larry Clark, whose portfolio is spread out before us, states that it is no longer about a celebration of childhood innocence and joyous playfulness. All the representations of children, for example, by August Macke, Emil Nolde and Chaim Soutine, but also by artists from the postwar period, ranging from Hans Laabs or Walter Wellenstein to Andy Warhol, are not only representative of child portraits from respective decades, but also constitute a »contrasting foil«, delineating those characteristics that stand for the radical changes in the representation of children up to the present day. The »Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung« (09/02/2012) praised this perspective and said that a time when children are actually becoming status symbols, daring trendbucking annoyances, such as KIDS, mark an important and welcome contrast to all that fuzzy Prenzlauer Berg madness.

CFA, Berlin, 25/8–22/9/2012