The contrast between aspiration and reality
(Notes on Judith Sturm's work from 2009)
Ernest W. Uthemann | Curator | Author | Former Director Stadtgalerie SB | Research Associate Saarlandmuseum - Saarbrücken | Germany
In her art, Judith Sturm deals with similar motifs and converging themes that revolve around the question of what we expect of our bodies (and thus of our lives), how we deal with the contrast between the demands we make on our bodies and the reality of their transience.
In doing so, the painter certainly tries to approach an ideal, that of a slender, flexible, well-proportioned female body - in a word: the idea of the "model". In the poses of the women and in their display of both bare skin and fashionable accessories, the artist comes close to this view, but her models are more like the pretty but "everyday" girls in department stores' brochures than the "super beauties" à la Claudia Schiffer or Heidi Klum. The clothing, too, points more to "prêt-à-porter" than to "haute couture".
Especially where the women portrayed look like paper dolls, a distanced, almost satirical view of the rituals of the fashion world becomes perceptible, a pessimistic one almost, when the colour of the incarnate mixed with salts looks like age-stained: The old vanitas motif from early modern art of "death and the girl", of the transience of all beauty, is echoed here. In the fragmentation of the body, in the focus on certain parts of the female body, on legs, buttocks and breasts, there is a critical reference to a contemporary depersonalised eroticism that disregards the individual and only focuses on "stimulating" details.