Dear Marlene Kern, dear Mayor Krimmer, distinguished members of the city council and members of the press, dear friends, relatives and companions of our artist, honored visitors,
tonight is a very special for me as the head of the Forum Unterschleissheim. For over 10 years we have worked closely with the graphic designer Marlene Kern creating our appearance in public and therefore also has a significant share in our success in recent years.
Therefore, we take a great pleasure to be able to realize the first exhibition for Marlene Kern, since she began almost exactly two years ago in order to open up the painting on her work as a graphic addition. This is not least a gesture of trust, because to present themselves with their own work for the first time in public, requires courage.
Marlene Kern grew in Mühldorf a. Inn and went to high school in Munich. First – she was not really sure how she wanted to make her future career – she attended the Munich Drawing and Painting Hans Seeger, where she learned the craft of drawing. That there learned has become for her today again important because, as she herself acknowledges, is the basis for painting drawing.
This is followed by studies at the College of Communication Design Munich that it is flush with the diploma. Shortly after graduation she became self-employed in 1996 and founded her company Marlene Kern Design. Since then she has designed graphic orders for companies and institutions.
As we can see, it takes after graduation but some time before Marlene Kern approaches to painting and her will to a certain extent. There are two main reasons to be explained to the assessment of an artist in my view, is crucial.
On the one hand, she says, needs painting a subject, a personal concern, and accordingly, a personal identity and maturity that is still missing her at the beginning of her careers. Only with finding her identity, a coherent and around will in one‘s own personality, she could see that security in herself, it needs to reflect and implement the express personal issues. The search for identity is a life-defining issue, one which employs an early age to the present day ever at Marlene Kern. She has thus not made easily, taken resistors and setbacks in purchasing, has grown and with this search.
“An independent identity is the key to a better world. Nothing is worth more than to become aware of their own desires, goals and attitudes, to form their own opinions, to develop talents, to find security and recognition in itself and to make itself the benchmark for reviews. All this allows to communicate only to interact and society with a individual position in their diversity to enrich”. So defined Marlene Kern understanding of identity.
Secondly, graphics and design in the last 20 years has changed greatly. As Marlene Kern receives her design studies early 90s, there is no software solutions and image programs. Today graphic design is highly technologically and a structuring task. The computer age has taken graphic designer’s artistic identity. She experienced in the professional work as an artist less and less in demand, even with its customers finds little willingness for creative experimentation, instead will likely set to conservative designs.
So it goes in professional work of creative people today more seek to control content. The challenge today is to produce small amounts of data for short charging times and give it to digital surfaces an emotional aesthetics that convey a pleasant “look and feel”.
Marlene Kern is in her pictures with men apart. So far two series have been created to make up each 8 images are shown here. The series 1 is dedicated to her perceived as one-sided image of men in our Western meritocracy. Pictures of factual, sovereign and leadership strong men can be easily found, but where are images that show, for example, men in their uncertainty, distress or in their helplessness? Are men censoring their feelings in favor of “desired and successful” behavior? Marlene Kern goes to these questions, because it is a discrepancy between inner experience and outer to enter suspected the “strong” sex, leading to a distorted picture. Create distance and avoid contact.
Her styles are different. She experiments with painting techniques to develop her own style. So there is in series 2 work, follow all the dark, oppressive expressionistic style of the 20s of the 20th century. There are special in the series 1 naturalistic works, expressive in reaching up into the abstract intensely colored images. All works convincing by perfectly proportions and harmonious composition. You can feel the graphic education in each of their photos – although she seeks, but unlike many others she has a multitude of technical options available. Marlene Kern works quickly, she creates a dynamic brushwork with a certain rhythm, which she remains true in both series.
So the series 1 is dedicated to the search for emotions that may be like a controlled reaction and weighing victim. A questionable ability that is especially demanded from men in the Western civilization. That question was the artist in her works. Marlene Kern projected images of men on the canvas, in their gestures and facial expressions she means to recognize suppressed feelings – certainly a speculative, but never evaluative undertaking. Rather, the benevolent and almost lovingly dedicated questioning a sensed ambivalence between the inner and outer experience. It is a questioning and groping, does not impose itself, but not hidden. It is an encouragement to show emotions. To have the courage to show themselves and to trust that this courage will be rewarded and not penalized.
The common element, the explanatory interface between the two series of “Images of Men” is best illustrated by a quote from the Spanish philosopher and sociologist José Ortega y Gasset, which is the artist at heart especially:
“Life is essentially a constant shipwreck.
But his shipwrecked not mean drowning …
The feeling of the shipwreck,
because it is the truth of life,
already means the rescue.”
Trigger for the images of series 2 is the observation for Marlene Kern that many in the meantime winning photographs of male refugees show a direct, archaic and authentic emotionality that can miss the men pictures of the series 1. They show people in desperate need – here is no need to speculate, inner and outer experience are one. These pictures stick much longer than the images of women in similar situations in the viewer from the western culture.
The basis of the images of the series 2 are photographs. They document scenes that would fit their formation by more in the world of the Old Testament and might therefore affect us so much. The devastation and despair, the tears and the helplessness that is reflected in the faces of male refugees, transcends borders and brings compassion and help. Rating and political perspective on things is not Marlene Kern’s concern. She captured the range of emotions in the pictures, complements them and gives us in a way back that perhaps makes us look a lot easier, the statement can be existentially less harsh and devastating.
Arriving at herself, discovering and internalizing her identity have Marlene Kern led to her theme – and what she found want to give it to us.
First, with a selection from the first two series, but determined by yet another series to its topic.
The pictures shown here Marlene Kern as well as further work can be found on the website of the artist under www.painting.marlenekern.de
I personally wish Marlene Kern an enriching progression on her way to the painting and would like to thank at this point for your attention.