Kerstin DrechselUntitled from if you close the door series (2009)

With the exception of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, I’m not all that fond of expressionism.

In fairness, I can’t imagine Drechsel fancies herself an expressionist. But I think there’s an argument to be made that while if you close the door starts off more classically photo-realistic as it becomes more enmeshed in the private experiences of loves, it begins to disintegrate into something that shares elements of expressionism.

I love how the work is at once both graphic and implicit. The sometimes fumbling awkwardness of the exchanges.

Take this image: I can’t get over the matching knickers. The way each partner is stimulating the other and holding the other at a distance. (The one on the left in an effort to watch her lovers body and the one on the right because she is approaching orgasm–note the way the partner on the right has her lips parted but at the same time this expression is partly elided by the clumsy shadow her partner is casting across her face.

I also really like the vaginal shape of the composition. It’s not at all subtle but in the context of the work it’s a powerful statement about whom and for what purpose the work was created (i.e. it wasn’t made for white cishet dudes to objectify).

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