Is the world, especially the art world, the best we can imagine?
Janine Mackenroth’s exhibition PANGLOSSIAN in the aquabitArt gallery is a hopeful feminist but also sarcastic journey of the artist through this world and its possibilities, prejudices and obstacles. The term Panglossian is based on Pangloss, a boundlessly positive figure from Voltaire’s “Candide or the optimism” from 1759. This story criticizes the purely optimistic world view of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and shows what consequences it may have to blindly follow the faith of benevolence.
Mackenroth joins Candide’s view and plays with the traditional views on artists that are still anchored in many minds today. This reality led Mackenroth to build the first nail polish painting machine in 2015. Janine Mackenroth created and patented her constructions out of the alleged inability of the women artists to paint properly, so that they could do the painting for her – according to the artist Georg Baselitz’s claim “Women don’t paint very well. That is a fact.” › SPIEGEL-Interview 2013
Nail polish, which due to its association and history is clearly to be assigned to women, is understood here as poured out BLACK RED GOLDEN 760 No.1, feminism on canvas. PAPERWORKS, a closely connected series, describes numerous drawings with eyeshadow, lipstick and mascara since 2015. She presents 24 of them as a CHRISTMAS CALENDAR, day by day, which is offered for sale on social media. Once again she reaches back to beauty products and emphasizes their value in the form of art. At the same time it is also a reference to mass media (and again mass culture) and their normality and usefulness in life and work.
Also with the SIGNET FOR RING WOMEN IN ART Mackenroth appropriates a sign of male power and handles it in such a way that primarily women profit from it. With the MONEYGUN, she underlines the relevance of networks and associations of women in the art world. Her work 100 YEARS OF WOMEN AT GERMAN ART ACADEMIES uses 155 cents stamps in a fictional edition to acknowledge the 100th anniversary of women at the German artacademies. A jubilee that hasn’t been celebrated properly – yet. Text (excerpt): Sarah Maske