Alive at opposite ends of the 20th century, Egon Schiele and Francesca Woodman nevertheless shared a fascination with representing the human body – whether tortured, surreal or comical.
With this exhibition, Tate Liverpool continues its tradition of presenting a pair of artists alongside one another, drawing links between them. Under scrutiny here are two artists for whom the human body – and its potential for eloquence – held particular fascination.
The exhibition draws together Austrian expressionist painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918) and American photographer Francesca Woodman (1958-81) – two artists who pursued different mediums, and themselves existed 40 years apart. In contrast are Schiele’s quick, minimal lines with Woodman’s blurred, long exposure photographs; in congruence are the artists’ skill in capturing movement and tension. Both depict the body in unnerving states of discomfort. Intimate and unashamed, their portraits lay bare physical strain, to diverse ends.
Opening in the 100th anniversary year of Schiele’s death, Life in Motion draws Schiele’s practice and ideas firmly into the 21st century while also highlighting the significance of Woodman’s sadly short but prolific career. Together, Woodman and Schiele’s works make for raw, visceral viewing – with the resonances between the two artists allowing audiences to reflect on the body’s expressiveness in new ways.