The human body stripped bare has the power to compel, to shock and to seduce. From the heroic, muscular male forms of Antiquity to the reclining odalisques of 19th-Century painting, nude figures have dominated the artistic traditions of the Western world. Curated by Jane Neal, The Nude in the XX and XXI brings together work by artists that revolutionised this tradition in the Modern era with new art that explores today’s attitudes to the body in the raw.
The thirty one artists chosen for the show range from pioneering painters Egon Schiele and Lucien Freud to artists including Louise Bourgeois, Marina Abramović and Tracy Emin, whose intimate explorations of the female body challenge centuries of objectification of women by men in art. Recent and specially commissioned works featured in the exhibition respond to our complex relationship with the naked body in today’s culture. These include the renowned British portrait artist Jonathan Yeo’s study of the of the impact of plastic surgery; new work by the German artist Martin Eder, who looks to the generation “who grew up with Internet porn and have a completely different relationship with the nude”; and paintings by Caroline Walker, who asks “what is it to be a woman and be looked at by men?”.
Selected Artists Include: Marina Abramović, Zsolt Bodoni, Armin Boehm, Louise Bourgeois, Cecily Brown, Paul Cézanne, Mircea Cantor, Tamara de Lempicka, Marlene Dumas, Martin Eder, Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud, Robert Fry, Alberto Giacometti, Antony Gormley, Stéphane Graff, Gustav Klimt, Justin Mortimer, Edvard Munch, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Pablo Picasso, Dione Roach, Egon Schiele, Dennis Scholl, Attila Szucs, Alexander Tinei, Kees van Dongen, Caroline Walker, Tom Wesselmann, Hugo Wilson and Jonathan Yeo.
Curated by Jane Neal a leading expert on the contemporary art scene in Eastern Europe. She co-authored ‘Cities of the Future: 21 Century Avant Gardes’ for Phaidon and curated Nightfall: New Tendencies in Figurative Painting, which featured 28 of the world’s leading
Photo: Marina Abramovic, Freeing the Body, 1974/2014
Sotheby’s S|2 London 31 St George Street, Mayfair, London Exhibition: 19 November 2015–15 January 2016