Egon Schiele – The Radical Nude
As the title suggests Schieles work on display contained a degree of nudity. I first want to approach my opinion and views on the exhibition by talking about my surroundings. By this I mean the sea of people that filled every inch of each of the two rooms. I like to people watch, who doesn’t? And from viewing explicit exhibitions such as Schieles I have come up with the following conclusion about the viewers; you can divide them up into three categories:
- Some people take an instant loathing to the nature of the work and thus hate the piece regardless.
- Others who regard the nudity as the elephant in the room. Not mentioning it and exaggerating other parts of the picture to compensate for this.
- Thirdly those who love it purely because of the fact it’s nude, rude and annoys people.
It is this mix that makes his work so popular. The nudity and unusual style forces you to make a judgement. Good or bad it doesn’t matter “any press is good press”. Along with this the more people that hate it (category 1), the more that love it (category 3). But without the uniqueness of his style, that differs from anything I have ever seen before, the crowds around me would not be getting the chance to view his exhibition.
Schiele’s way of almost scratching the lines into existence gives the piece a gritty and unclean feel to it. This added with splashes of colour allowed him to highlight what he wanted the viewer to focus on. The reason for these areas of focus could have been to highlight what he was most interested in/found to be most important.
I overheard a middle aged man next to me refer to Schiele as being an ‘influential feminist’, this took me by surprise. I would never had come to this conclusion on my own. Their reasoning they gave for making this statement was that Schiele was focussed on the private areas of women and therefore… loved women… I think this was a very narrow minded statement, a common male misinterpretation of the meaning behind feminism. Schiele depicts women, most of which prostitutes, in very disconcerting manner. The colours and positions are very corpse like. This theme runs through the whole exhibition and is not confined to his drawings of women, suggesting, his pieces don’t have a strict underlying meaning and that his focus is purely on experimenting with the skeleton like body image rather than personally considering the connotations surrounding this style.
Visual: 7/10 Conceptual: 4/10 Overall: 6/10