Solo presentation of the major Pop Art figure Evelyne Axell on view at Muzeum Susch

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Solo presentation of the major Pop Art figure Evelyne Axell on view at Muzeum Susch
Evelyne Axell, The Champions (Les Championnes), 1966, diptych, oil on canvas, spray paint on cut-out canvas, two panels, 160 × 60 cm each. Courtesy Collection Philippe Axell, Photo Paul Louis. Copyright: ADAGP, Paris - Prolitteris, Zurich 2020.

SUSCH.- Muzeum Susch presents Body Double, a solo presentation of the major Pop Art figure, Evelyne Axell (1935-1972). Axell embraced Pop Art in the 1960s, pioneering an original feminist take on the male-dominated genre. Axell ultimately transcended the established economies of Pop Art iconography at the time, her distinct body of work populated by an all female universe reclaiming the discourse of women’s sexuality.

Evelyne Axell’s career was tragically cut short by her untimely death in a car accident, aged just 37, meaning her work and contribution to early feminist art and Pop Art was subsequently left out of the dominant narrative of art history, alongside her contemporaries such as Pauline Boty, Rosalind Drexler, Kiki Kogelnik, and Dorothy Iannone, who have only found due recognition in recent years. Co-curated by Anke Kempkes, international curator, art historian and art critic and Krzysztof Kościuczuk, artistic director of Muzeum Susch this exhibition will present several dozen works across the artist’s oeuvre. Body Double brings together a selection of collages and painterly objects - often created with novel artificial materials, such as her signature technique of painting plastic with car enamel - as well as rare three-dimensional pieces and works on paper, many of which have not been on view in decades. Following a presentation at Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach in 2011, this will be the largest solo museum retrospective to be staged outside of Axell’s native Belgium in decades.

Born in Belgium in 1935, Axell began her career as a TV presenter under the name of Evelyne Axell, becoming a charismatic and acclaimed theatre and film actress, as well as script writer in the Nouvelle Vague genre. Tutored for by the Belgian Surrealist René Magritte, Axell turned to painting in 1964. Axell filtered the contemporary vocabulary of Pop Art through an own reading of Surrealism. Her daring work was initially met with such derision by male critics that she decided to drop her first name Evelyne to publish professional work under the androgynous ‘Axell’ in order to escape the associations of her gender.

Body Double offers a close reading of Axell’s self-articulations and the aesthetic treatment of the meta-autobiographical dimension in her work. The exhibition will also highlight the diverse political themes in Axell’s work, situating her iconography in an international perspective of the time. As an active witness of the era of sexual liberation, Axell’s explorations focussed on a female body that was both liberated from past painterly conventions of depicting femininity and, ultimately, from the heterosexual and patriarchal matrix of society – both historical and contemporary. Throughout her work, Axell forged a signature iconography of empowered female nudes inhabiting spheres of utopian homosociality. As the artist herself said, “Despite all aggressiveness, my universe abounds above all in an unconditional love for life. My subject
is clear: nudity and femininity experiment in the utopia of a bio-botanical freedom, that means
a freedom without frustration nor gradual submission, and that tolerates only the limits that it
sets itself.” (Axell, 1970)

As its title suggests, Body Double hones in on the - almost obsessively recurring - motif of ‘the
double’ in Axell’s compositions. These range from identical, idealized female nudes, engaged
in a dialogue, caught motionless as if in a Greek freeze, or resembling keepers of a portal to an
uncharted territory, to psychologically charged double self-portraits, twin females absorbed in
an embrace or a kiss, to figures in which the only distinctive feature is their skin colour –
resonating with the agendas of anti-colonial politics of the time and the US civil rights
movement. The rich iconography of the ‘Body Double’ culminates in Axell’s painting, La
grande sortie dans l’espace (The Great Journey into Outer Space, 1967) in which cosmonautic
nudes float in space in a modern pagan circle dance. Transcending Matisse’s purely aesthetic
compositions of cut-out nudes, Axell’s Arcadian abstraction is a vision of a joyful, nonauthoritarian new dimension in which female pleasure can unfold freely.

Another aspect of “the double” in Axell’s paintings is the “bio-botanique”: with surreal beasts,
exotic animals, and tropical vegetation that exist as “bio-cultural companions” to use Paul B.
Preciado’s term. These include representations of transformed ideal egos, stand-ins for human,
or eroticized scenes like the Le Homard Amoureux (Lobster in Love, 1967) in whose embrace
the female shape dissolves into a human-crustacean hybrid. Even today, Evelyne Axell’s work
remains highly evocative in its transgressive sexual iconography, proto-feminist agenda and
liberalist utopian outlook.

Today's News

March 8, 2021

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers to hold 'Fine Art + Furniture & Decorative Arts' sale

Amy Sherald directs her Breonna Taylor painting toward justice

'Mythological Passions' launches the Museo del Prado's temporary exhibition programme

In Japan, his disaster art saves lives

Sotheby's to offer exceptional Vietnamese masterpieces from the Madame Dothi Dumonteil collection

On a newly designed digital platform, Asia Week New York opens with a virtual preview of major highlights

'Golden Mummies of Egypt' exhibition opens at the North Carolina Museum of Art

New Yorkers rediscover city's pandemic-deserted tourist spots

New book features letters addressed by Édouard Manet to his friend the artist Félix Bracquemond

400-year-old Rubens masterpiece unveiled after extensive conservation work

Slotin Folk Art Auction announces highlights included in its 'Spring Self-Taught Art Masterpiece Sale'

Almine Rech opens the first posthumous exhibition of Korean artist Kim Tschang-Yeul

Immersive van Gogh experiences bloom like sunflowers

Solo presentation of the major Pop Art figure Evelyne Axell on view at Muzeum Susch

Irish novelist Edna O'Brien granted France's highest cultural award

Brooklyn's Domino Park presents immersive public art experience by light artist Jen Lewin

The Long Museum Chongqing opens an exhibition of works by Tomokazu Matsuyama

Thomas Erben opens an exhibition of new paintings by Dona Nelson

Giuseppe Stampone's new solo show opens at MLF │ Marie-Laure Fleisch

UCCA opens a group exhibition proposing new possibilities for the shape of Buddhist art

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Roma opens an exhibition of works by Wolfgang Stoerchle

Paris Latin Quarter booksellers feel the squeeze

Solo exhibition of sculptures and installations by Inge Mahn on view at Galerie Max Hetzler

Only West Coast stop for landmark exhibition reunites Jacob Lawrence narrative series

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit
Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful