Hysterical Fantasy


Group show


29.Sep.12 - 15.Nov.12


Via dei prefetti, 17
00186 Roma


Günter Brus – Jan Fabre – Dennis Oppenheim – Sandra Vasquez de la Horra
Curated by Lorand Hegyi

The idea of the exhibition “Hysterical Fantasy” was born during the last year of Dennis Oppenheim’s life and developed in several discussions and exchanges between the artist and the curator Lorand Hegyi, in his studio in the Franklin Street in Tribeca as well, as in Catanzaro and in Saint-Etienne. In these empathic conversations Dennis Oppenheim repeatedly spoke about the spontaneous and subconscious, irrational and uncontrollable, hysterical and chaotic determinations of our actions and attitudes what he wanted to show in his work. In one of his brilliant essays he tried to reveal his deepest motivation in the working process and found it in the irresistible desire of an "almost shamanistic immersion into self-darkness".

The acknowledgement of the power of this un-governable and frightening “self-darkness” in the different cultural contexts and symbol-forms, in the myths and cults, in the religion and in the language determinates the very narrative of the artists of the exhibition “Hysterical Fantasy”: Günter Brus, Jan Fabre, Dennis Oppenheim and Sandra Vasquez de la Horra who all create a radically excessive imaginary in their art praxis. Three of them, Günter Brus, Jan Fabre and Dennis Oppenheim share their basic interest for theatre, dance, performance, for the direct engagement of the body, while Sandra Vasquez de la Horra builds her sensual and provocative imaginary on the presentation of the body in a very complex psychological and ethno-cultural contextualization in which the black magic, the religious and mystical fantasy and the connotative capacity of language play the central role. Jan Fabre’s provocative, painful and often shocking and scandalous self-revelations manifest the hidden force of unlimited imagination, which creates his figures and tales in the darkness of secrets, taboos, desires. Günter Brus connects genius linguistic inventions with the powerful, sensual embodiments of repressive, self-destructive cultural systems.

The exhibition “Hysterical Fantasy” presents exclusively drawings by these four artists from Europe, North America and South America. Their artistic praxis in the medium drawing manifests a strong and profound involvement in the cultural heritage of previous historical periods from the Middle Age to the late Symbolism, from the Mannerism to the Romanticism. They all operate with the strong presence of the texts in the visual structure, with the poetical power of selected words within the suggestive images.

All the four artists consequently ignore any tendency or demand for a formalistic coherency of his plastic work. They concentrate on the provocative and extreme intensity of revealing strong, unavoidable, elementary feelings which dominate and determinate our attitudes and reactions. The accumulation of unplanned and ungovernable moments, the visualisation of an "internal state of chaos“ is in the centre of their work. It isn’t a paradox that while practising an essentially rational methodology, they deal with irrational attitudes, they examine psychic, emotional, pathological realms. In communicating hidden, psychic states, in raising an awareness of the inner "mental architecture", in concretising the "dark processes", there is a confrontation between rationalistic methods and moments of mysterious enlightenment, intuitions, unconscious reactions. As Dennis Oppenheim explains: "I know it is a fantasy, that art is materialized by a combination of strong subterranean urges and a mysterious field of seduction that connects with primal forces, creating the urge to concretise and communicate. This is all a hysterical fantasy..."

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