Tenderness and violence, touch and absence, togetherness and conflict, antiquity and universality; through paper, charcoal, ink and film, inspired by Greek myth, Petra Lottje interrogates and explores these concepts.  

At the centre of the exhibition is the figure of Medusa. Violated by Poseidon, punished by Athena, transformed into a monster with a petrifying gaze and snakes for hair, then beheaded by Perseus, the fallen gorgon looms large over the Kunsthaus, where her image appears on large rolls of paper, scrapped and torn, her serpents collapsed at her feet. She is sprayed with Zeus, who has transformed into a shower of gold, as he did to seduce the princess Danae.

Medusa has long fascinated; at the same time a victim, a monster, the incarnation of feminine rage, her many contradictions are mirrored by Lottje; for whom a hand is not only the instrument with which we communicate affection, as seen in the film AUSNAHMEZUSTAND (‘state of emergency’), where-in people from all walks of life are invited to touch each other; to hold hands, to caress. Such expressions of warmth are so clearly universal that’s unnecessary to see any faces to understand the sentiments shown. But the hand can also become Poseidon’s trident, made symbolic of violation, and it’s absence can be as important as its presence; through charcoal lines, often developed from a single stroke, figures touch, join or long for the same. Child to parent or lover to lover interact in positions that are so fluid that they can appear either caring or forceful, or sometimes both.

The world of Lottje’s creation has a limited colour palette, which allows the black, blue, gold and green to stand out. The blue ink blots makes us think of the sea, Poseidon’s domain; the god who laughs at the cruelty inflicted on Medusa, stands over her with what appear to be eyes of gold. Yet we also see Medusa’s serpents appear like a crown of gold. Through colour and relic objects presented like archaeological finds (including one of Medusa’s terrified serpents, separated from its mistress.), we are invited to contemplate not only the Greek myth and its implications, but our own relationship to power, touch and interaction, their different meanings and significance over time, contexts, history and culture.

Mathilde Bozeat, Praktikantin im KHP