BerlinOn the Politics of Delicacy
Curated by Anke Kempkes
The Robert Anton Theatre
& Yael Bartana, Duggie Fields, Federico García Lorca, Nicholas Gra a, Hannah Höch, Karolina Jablonska, Krzysztof Jung, Tadeusz Kantor, Stanislava Kovalcikova, Zoe Leonard, Liliane Lijn, Raúl Martínez, Joanna Piotrowska, Jimmy De Sana, Mikolaj Sobczak, Kazimierz Wisniak, a.o.
Opening Friday, January 24, 6–8:30pm
7pm The Accursed Ones
Performance by Mikolaj Sobczak & Nicholas Nicholas Grafia
Saturday, January 25
7pm Queer Performativity in Times of Political Polarization
Conversation with Performers Mikolaj Sobczak, Nicholas Grafia, Uel, Billy Morgan, Agata Grabowska and Filip Rutkowski with Igor Bloch; Moderated by Anke Kempkes
Songs of Poland, Poetry Reading by Billy Morgan
Capitain Petzel presents the group exhibition On the Politics of Delicacy conceived around the Robert Anton Theatre Collection.
In the early 1970s Robert Anton (1949-1984) created a surreal miniature theatre which quickly achieved cult status and fascinated audiences both in the US and Europe. By bringing together multiple influences – from Antonin Artaud’s writings on the Theatre of Cruelty, alchemist principles of transformation and hybridity, post-WWI characters of George Grosz and Otto Dix, to the eccentric creatures of Hieronymus Bosch; but also early Hollywood and Disney motives, Federico Fellini’s baroque fantasies, and pop cultural impulses of his era – Anton created a unique visual language. Due to the intimacy of his performances which often took place in his loft with a maximum capacity of 18 spectators, his plays remained something of New York’s best-kept secret, a refuge into the surreal imaginary. The exhibition gives insight into Anton’s work by showing his intriguingly sculpted figurines (effectively, his ‘actors’), props and drawings.
At Capitain Petzel, curator Anke Kempkes contextualises the oeuvre of Robert Anton for the first time by unfolding thematic trajectories that resonate with his work, namely the politics of the home theatre, surrealist political theatre, the concept of ‘monstrosity’ in postwar female avant-garde sculpture, a new female painterly symbolism, and queer performativity in times of political polarization. With such specific trajectories in mind, a dynamic dialogue takes place between Anton’s oeuvre and works permeating both genre and epoch by German Dada artist Hannah Höch and Spanish poet and theatre director Federico García Lorca; Anton’s theatre pioneer contemporary Tadeusz Kantor and scenographer Kazimierz Wisniak; works by Liliane Lijn; post-modernist and queer artists from East and West Duggie Fields, Jimmy De Sana, Krzysztof Jung, Raúl Martínez and Zoe Leonard; and contemporary artists Yael Bartana, Joanna Piotrowska, Stanislava Kovalcikova, Karolina Jablonska, Mikolaj Sobczak, Nicholas Grafia, Billy Morgan and Uel.
The Robert Anton Theatre collection was previously on display at Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw (2018); The Edge, Bath University Gallery (2019); and Tramway, Glasgow (2019).
Our special thanks go to Anke Kempkes and the Bette Stoler Collection, New York.
Installation view: On the Politics of Delicacy, Curated by Anke Kempkes, January 24 – February 22, 2020 © The Estate of Robert Anton, the artists and Capitain Petzel, Berlin. Ph: Jens Ziehe
Untitled, from the Series La Conquista, ca. 1990-92
Collage/ mixed media
70 x 50 cm / 27.6 x 19.7 inches
© the artist, Courtesy Francisco Arevalo and Capitain Petzel, Berlin
XXIII / FROWST, 2013/14
Silver gelatin hand print
130 x 160 cm / 51.2 x 63 inches, 1 AP, Edition of 1
© the artist, Courtesy Southard Reid, London and Capitain Petzel, Berlin
Queen of Hearts, Queen of Diamonds, 1980
Optical glass, prism, aluminium
227 x 185 x 185 cm / 89.4 x 72.8 x 72.8 inches
© the artist, Courtesy Rodeo Gallery, London and Capitain Petzel, Berlin
Metaphysical Leg-Pull, 1976
Acrylic on canvas
183 x 183 cm / 72.05 x 72.05 inches
© the artist, Courtesy The Modern Institute, London and Capitain Petzel, Berlin
Iolo Carew, shaving his legs, 1981/2012
Silver Gelatine Print
33,3 x 45 cm / 13.1 x 17.7 inches
© the artist, Courtesy Capitain Petzel, Berlin. Ph: Simon Vogel
Jimmy De Sana
39,4 x 59,7 cm / 15.5 x 23.5 inches
© the artist, Courtesy Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London and Capitain Petzel, Berlin
At the Gym II (Selfportrait in a Bathrobe), 2017
Acrylics, gouache, indian ink, oil and spray on canvas
150 x 125 cm / 59.1 x 51.2 inches
© the artist, Courtesy Capitain Petzel, Berlin
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