(November 4, 2008, Cologne, Germany) Multi-talented artist Marilyn Manson, legendary for the cult status of his music career and persona, has simultaneously been creating a large and remarkable body of painting over the past two decades that will be revealed for the first time in the U.S. this December during Art Basel Miami. Just as Manson's lyrics are provocative, driving the expressive form of music to its limits, the artist's paintings, though aesthetically
pleasing, play with the grotesque and confront the viewer with the dark side of the American Dream – its obsessions and pitfalls. This exhibition of more than twenty paintings is presented by the Cologne-based Galerie Brigitte Schenk in cooperation with 101 Exhibit, a dynamic new art space in Miami's design district. The show will remain on view through February 2009. Trismegistus features Manson's paintings from the past eight years. Looking at the works, one enters the artist's deep, haunted world and his existential exploration of the human condition. The artist focuses on the more unpleasant and controversial sides of life – real and fictional – as conveyed through both subject matter and distorted notions of beauty. Parallels to the style and to the “sadomasochistic eroticism” of the German Expressionist painter Egon Schiele can hardly be overlooked, as David Galloway remarked in an article entitled “Gothic Revival” (ARTnews, 2007). He continued, “Manson's subjects are consistent with his bizarre and morbid image: disease, mutilation, addiction, homicide.”
The titles sometimes lighten up the darker, more sensational events that Manson evokes, inclding: study of the murderess Elizabeth Short, celebrated in the media as the Black Dahlia, bears the title “Elizabeth Short as Snow White, You're sure you will be comfortable?”, “Jon Benet Ramsey as Sleeping Beauty II”, and “Übermensch” painted in honor of Christopher Reeve. Several others allude to Manson's own angst, as in “Green Whore of Love (series I),” “I've got my arm around no one,” and “The man who eats his fingers” (which the artist specifically notes was produced with caffeine-free chamomile tea).
“Marilyn Manson is a living work of art and an anti-popstar. His fine art is an extension of his complex personality and expansive creativity – from his performance art on stage, to his song writing, to his intimate and revealing paintings,” stated his gallerist Brigitte Schenk. “After tremendous popular and critical response to his recent show in Cologne, where over 1,000 people attended the opening, Manson's works are now in collections worldwide. We're thrilled to introduce his art to U.S. audiences for the first time during Art Basel Miami.“
The artist known as Marilyn Manson took his pseudonym from the names Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson – figures whom he sees as reflecting the ultimate and most disturbing dualism of American culture. From the beginning of his career as a musician, Manson has also been active as a painter. The oldest of his surviving pieces date back to 1995. After a brief “grey period” Manson began painting watercolors in 1999. His manic creativity has been documented in a number of exhibitions. In 2002, he had a show in Los Angeles and two years later presented his “Trismegistus” piece – a large three-headed Christ – in Paris and in Berlin. In 2006 Manson opened a temporary art gallery in Los Angeles, and in April 2007, recent works were exhibited at Galerie Brigitte Schenk, Cologne.
Galerie Brigitte Schenk
Starting her career in the German branch of the Dia Art Foundation, Brigitte Schenk worked with Joseph Beuys and A.R. Penck, and as a private curator until she launched her own art gallery in Cologne 14 years ago. The gallery specializes in modern and contemporary art of all disciplines. The program also focuses on contemporary Arabian art, and Schenk has organized exhibitions and projects with the United Arab Emirates for the past eight years including: curating the collection for H.H. Shiekah Hoor Al Qasimi, a collaboration with Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, and an exhibition of Thomas Walther for the Sharjah Art Museum. Marilyn Manson is one of the more recent artists to join the gallery, which also shows Hans Peter Adamski, Curtis Anderson, Klaus Fritze, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Shahram Karimi, A.R. Penck, Mariy Zerres and many more.
Jerome Shaw, a Miami-based collector, will inaugurate 101 Exhibit this December with Manson's Trismegistus. The contemporary art space will focus on challenging work by emerging and established artists and will create a new platform for dialogue.