Renate Bertlmann: Discordo Ergo Sum

Weng Contemporary
Jun 4, 2019 4:44PM

"KNIFE-ROSE", THE NEW EDITION BY RENATE BERTLMANN, THE ICONIC AUSTRIAN FEMINIST ARTIST, IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT WENG CONTEMPORARY!

Born in Vienna in 1943, Bertlmann is an Austrian feminist avant-garde artist, living and working in Vienna. Since the early 1970s she has focused on the ambivalence of the feminine and masculine relationship, issuing complex and contradictory themes with dark humour and wit. With her work the artist has challenged many controversial topics like the role that society places on women, phallocentrism, sexism, often using her own body as artistic medium.

“ONE WAY I FOUND TO DEAL WITH THIS WAS TO USE THE PHALLUS AS A WEAPON; I USED IRONY AS A DISSOCIATION DEVICE, WHICH HELPED ME TO HAVE A FEARLESS APPROACH IN THE FORM OF THE “PHALLIC CARICATURES.” RENATE BERTLMANN

Renate Bertlmann, Austrian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019, Courtesy of the Artist

Long neglected mostly because her transgressive embrace of phallic form, which has contributed even in to her being ignored from the emerging canon of feminist art history, she has often faced repercussions, with pieces ridiculed and removed from display. Her unique, witty oeuvre was deplored for her use of sex toys and (hetero)sexually explicit imagery.

Renate Bertlmann, Discordo Ergo Sum, Austrian Pavilion (Venice Biennale 2019), Courtesy of the Artist

However in the recent past Bertlmann has been growing in popularity in Europe and USA, with her work appearing at the Tate Modern’s ‘The World Goes Pop’ exhibition, her exhibition at Independent 2019 in New York, her show in a full year of 100% women artists presented by Richard Saltoun in London. Finally her invitation to represent Austria in Venice Biennale 2019, which marks the first time in the history of Austria’s participation in the Venice Biennale that a female artist puts on a solo presentation at the Pavilion.

Entrance of the Austrian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019, Courtesy of the Art


For the Biennale, Renate Bertlmann has conceived a two-part installation characterized by either formal and conceptual precision.Based on the artist’s programmatic axiom, Amo Ergo Sum, the exhibition titled Discordo Ergo Sum, is characterized by a huge piece in front of the Pavilion and the 312 knife-roses, each of them hand blown in Murano, installation in the pavilion’s back courtyard. It focuses on the dichotomy of the human existence subverting social symbols.

“I AM HAPPY ABOUT MY WONDERFUL TASK TO DESIGN THE AUSTRIAN PAVILION IN VENICE. RADICAL CONTENTS AND AESTHETICS AND A WILLINGNESS TO TAKE RISKS ARE THE MAIN PILLARS OF MY ARTISTIC WORK. MY VISIONS, WHICH HAVE CARRIED ME FOR FIFTY YEARS, WILL THEREFORE ALSO FIND AN AUTHENTIC EXPRESSION IN THIS PLACE.”

Growing up in popularity and value, Renate Bertlmann is finally obtaining the place she merits in public and private collections.

RENATE BERTLMANN, Discordo Ergo Sum, Knife-rose, Price: $5,500.00, Murano Glass and Metal Sculpture, 2019, Edition of 50, 50 x 11 x 11 cm (19.6 x 4.3 x 4.3 in), Numbered, with CoA

Weng Contemporary