Portraits 1993–2019

Simone Gilges
1. February 2021 — 17. April 2021
We are pleased to present photographs by the artist Simone Gilges in the frame of her third solo show at KM. The exhibition curated by Nina & Jens Mentrup features a selection from the past 25 years with a focus on her portraits—in contrast to the expansive multimedia installations that were previously on display. The photos taken over the years are formally distinct and reveal a consistency regarding the expression of the portrayed persons, making them symbols of an emotional world.
Simone Gilges has been portraying people in her surroundings since the 1990s. Based in Berlin, she works in transnational groups and integrates existing image traditions in her complex pictorial compositions. Her works reflect a cosmopolitan feminist scene active in the intersection of art, music and fashion. The lighting in the photographs connects with the women’s glances and gestures. Their eyes follow the light that leads out of the picture. The staging of the portraits is a reflection of the women’s shared attitude, so that the works interconnect contexts that are far apart from each other across time. The women come together in their gestures and gazes that point to something not present in the image space.
The compositions process traditions of heteronormative depiction and appropriate visual strategies that in art-historical terms have predominantly been reserved for men, whose gazes dominated the situation, the land or a battlefield and manifested their power. Here, the gazes of the women meet in space and are directed toward something lying beyond us. The portraits in the gallery space thus make contact with each other and let the viewer partake in the exchange. The women see something that remains unknown to us, their gazes express the resolve to face what lies outside the image. Their courage to do something is palpable. Simone Gilges’ works generate their own time and reality that in essence reveal the possibility of a different, new society and a different attitude.