“Body Pressure. Sculpture since the 1960s” presents contemporary figurative sculptures. Unlike the marble effigies of the nineteenth century, contemporary figurative sculpture reflects a multi-layered and contradictory image of the human body. The materials have changed and, besides marble and bronze, artists now also use plastics, mundane objects or even bodily fluids. Figurative sculpture no longer seeks to symbolise claims of representation or power, rather it has become both more contradictory, fractured, and branches out into electronic media.

While artists such as Bruce Nauman, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Paul McCarthy as well as Berlinde de Bruyckere continue to refer to art historical models and older three-dimensional representations of the human figure, these representations are rendered increasingly abstract or grotesque. Ultimately it is works by artists such as Gilbert and George or Franz Erhard Walther that lift sculpture off its plinth entirely – or put differently: here sculpture steps down from the plinth as the artists either become living sculptures themselves or integrate the audience into the work.

The multi-layered exploration of the body in contemporary art is examined through pivotal works from the collections of the Nationalgalerie.

Curators: Henriette Huldisch, Lisa Marei Schmidt

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