BY MARK ANDERSON
The highly anticipated NordArt 2023 exhibition brings forth an extraordinary collection, unveiling a selection of ANTOINETTE’s remarkable artworks from her renowned picture cycle, “Myth of Europe.” Notably, the exhibition proudly presents drawings featuring towering figures reaching an impressive height of 2.5 meters.
Over the past two decades, NordArt has firmly established itself as a prominent fixture among European art fairs, attracting an estimated 100,000 art enthusiasts from Germany and beyond. Spanning an expansive area of more than 20,000m2 indoors and 80,000m2 outdoors, this year’s event promises ample room to showcase a portion of ANTOINETTE’s captivating 250-piece art cycle, “Mythos Europa.”
Background: Unveiling the Cultural Identity of Europe
ANTOINETTE, an esteemed painter hailing from the Leipzig school, has dedicated over 35 years of her artistic career to exploring the cultural identity of our continent. Her extensive body of work delves deep into the subject, unraveling captivating narratives and captivating cycles. Europe, she asserts, encompasses far more than the mere sum of its nation-states, as it boasts a shared history and a collective cultural heritage.
The project “Mythos Europa” serves as a platform to elucidate stories from Europe’s mythology through figurative paintings, providing insights into how we perceive these images. It delves into the essence of the continent, exploring the inner state of Europe and the external image it projects to the world. As part of a series of events traversing European cities, the exhibition tour featuring 30-150 large-format works by ANTOINETTE constitutes the core, fostering critical reflections and discussions on Europe’s past, present, and future.
ANTOINETTE – MYTHOS EUROPA: A Journey into European Myths
ANTOINETTE’s artistic journey has centered around the exploration of myths and legends from European cultural history since her early days as a painter. She has displayed a particular fascination with the female figures who wield influence over events through their skills, destinies, emotions, and strength. Over the span of 35 years, ANTOINETTE has delved deep into the saga of Europa, the Phoenician princess who fell victim to Zeus, the father of the gods, disguised as a bull. Riding across the sea with Europa on his back, the bull arrived on the island of Crete, where legend holds that he fathered three children with her. Europa, thus, became the progenitor of the Cretan royal family and lent her name to the entire continent of Europe.
The first painting featuring the iconic “Lady on the Bull” motif dates back to 1980. Initially, ANTOINETTE explored the role of the female figure, delving into the formal contradictions between femininity and masculinity, as well as the dynamics between genders. The motif remained a recurring theme in her creative contemplations, leading to the exploration of other subjects such as the acquisition and preservation of power, the shared archaic roots of mythology, and the contemporary identity of Europe. Through symbolic imagery, ANTOINETTE subtly references the current political landscape of the continent, touching upon themes of unity, divergence, the advent of a single currency, and the shared historical and cultural foundations of the European value system.
The Face of EUROPE: A Celebration of Women’s Contributions
Since 2014, ANTOINETTE has embarked on a quest to find the face of EUROPA, the namesake of our continent. Coinciding with upcoming anniversaries commemorating women’s suffrage across numerous European nations, she has crafted 100 life-size portraits of women from various European countries. These portraits serve as a testament to the profound impact these women have had on society, leading the way to gender equality. The thematic exploration in this collection seeks to highlight and celebrate the accomplishments of European integration, intertwining the threads of success with the vibrant tapestry of the continent.
The NordArt 2023 exhibition promises a captivating journey into the heart of Europe’s cultural mythology through ANTOINETTE’s masterpieces. With her artistic prowess and profound insights, ANTOINETTE invites visitors to ponder the intricate layers of our shared heritage and contemplate the complexities of the present and the future. As the exhibition unfolds, it offers a unique opportunity to engage in an immersive exploration of Europe’s artistic and cultural tapestry, leaving a lasting impression on all those who seek to understand and appreciate the rich depth of our collective identity.
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