Since the renaissance, the nude has been a customary, mostly graphic work preparation in artist studios and academies for the precise reproduction of body proportions and muscle play. Initially reserved exclusively for religious, historical and mythological subjects, its role changed in the course of modern painting in the 19th century. Accordingly, the term expanded in meaning over time. Today it is used to describe any form of non-pornographic, artistic representation of an unclothed human body.

THE NUDE is a group exhibition that illuminates the nude from a contemporary perspective. Privacy, self-determination, sexualization, objectification, grace, emancipation, #MeToo, seduction, self-confidence, eroticism, artistic aesthetics – never before has nudity been discussed so vividly, finely differentiated and controversially in public discourse as it is today. Every contemporary representation of the nude refers – willingly or unwillingly – to all these discourses. More than ever, artists today use nude representation to explore the limits of what is morally and aesthetically permissible.

Ronit Baranga, Susannah Martin, Frank Krüger, Joanna Grochowska, Linda Adair, Sally Hewett, Danielle Van Zadelhoff, Massimo Lagrotteria, Bruno Walpoth, David Friedmann

© Joanna Grochowska

Joanna Grochowska is a Polish contemporary artist, whose work has been exhibited internationally, acclaimed for the subversive, sophisticated imagery and vision. She studied Media Art and Set Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She was exhibited in the NSFW: Female Gaze show at the Museum of Sex in New York (2018) and selected for VICE MEDIA The Creators Project. In 2020 she was a part of the Antwerp Queer Arts Festival in Belgium.

Her haute photographie connects eroticism, pain and power. Faceless figures, which appear as mannequins through their lifeless poses, are shown without sexual organs and identity features. The body becomes a Project.

The conceptual basis of her art the the notions of Transgression and Singularity. Many of her works pertain to transsexualism, depicting the body after sex reassignment surgery. Her art relates to the future, affirming the gender fluidity, identity transition and a posthuman modified body.

The imagery depicting person as a mannequin, blurs the distinction between Human and Nonhuman. Still, passive, faceless figure refers to void, emptiness, tabula rasa – provokes inventing of new desires, transgression; imposed by the imagination of the Viewer.

© Ronit Baranga

Ronit Baranga is an Israeli artist who currently lives and works in Israel. In 2015, she participated in Banksy's group exhibition "Dismaland". Since then, she showed her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions in New York, Taiwan, China, Australia and Germany.

She creates realistic clay sculptures consisting of human body parts. She sculpts the body without anatomical errors to tempt the viewer to approach it, to examine it, and to finally relate to it. There is always an ambiguity and an element of the unexpected to her work. Human bodies, mouths, hands, fingers, expressions, attitudes and postures draw the viewer into a surrealistic world.

Ronit’s white clay sculptures provide a new look on still life. In her pieces, she gives human features to every day objects, suggesting that they might find their own purpose: a mouth opens in a plate, a sugar bowl reaches out with human fingers and squeezes a nearby teapot. Her work highlights tension between human life and lifeless objects and also between competing emotions or concepts even in pieces with entirely human subjects. Beauty and dissonance are intentional aspects of her work.

© Susannah Martin

Susannah Martin was born in New York City, USA and currently lives and works in Frankfurt, Germany. She studied painting at New York University together with Louise Lawler and Sherrie Levine. Her works can be found in important international private collections.

Susannah Martin focuses without exception on nude paintings embedded in landscapes. Ignoring erotic motivations the nude has always been a symbol for the human being in its purest form, its original form, its primordial form. Unbinding from all possible indicators such as clothing, property and status it frees itself from the social identity in a time of pure being.

For Susannah it is the Salon de Paris that symbolizes all tendencies of dictating an asthetic norm to the world of art and the society. It would have been the realists who challenged the public taste in Paris and the salons to the domination of academy in the 19th century. The question about the current definition of realism is complicated. Our concept of reality implys the point of view, which wasn't seen by the people of the 19th century. We can't define contemporary reality without the internet or photo editing. The nature isn't our home anymore, but a destination. No current image of an act in landscape can hide our alienation to nature, consciously or unconsciously. The experiments of the artist to envision the nude in landscape are realized in a charged relationship of a self-perception in duality between distortion and harmony.

© Danielle Van Zadelhoff

Danielle Van Zadelhoffis a dutch artist based in Antwerpen, Belgium. She bought her first camera 2013 and from then on, was fascinated of the medium photography.

According to her own statements, she is inspired by the big themes in life, loneliness, vulnerability, the raw pure emotions in daily life. She wants to capture this in the image, something that is almost invisible, but always present. Through the combination of a dark background and a light foreground, the chiaroscuro, and the gesture and facial expression of the portrait subject she creates an athmosphere, which referes to the historical Renaissance paintings. When she works in her studio she always becomes fascinated by the light, which makes the models transcend above themselves and head to something universal. There are also a couple of images where religion comes to the surface. It is also a big theme in the seventeenth century painting. Her background of restoring historical atmosphere, becomes visible in her work, through the sophisticated touch and finesse, along the attention to detail and proportion.

Danielles works were exhibited in the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga in Spain, the Chiesa die San Francesco in Udine, Italy and the Design Museum in London, in the Grand Palais in Paris, Pio del monte misericordia in Neapel, Moncler Venetië, Bachelot collection France, Collectie Balmain and MIT in Boston. The next exhibiton will be held 2021 in the Samogitian Art Museum of Lithuania and in Oostende.

© Massimo Lagrotteria

Massimo Lagrotteria is an Italian painter who has already exhibited in both solo and group events in Italy, Belgium, France, Poland and the United States. In 2019, his paintings were on display at ETRU, the National Etruscan Museum in Rome, and at Museum Marino Marini in Florence. His artworks are part of several collections, both private and in museums.

With his works, painted mainly in oil, Massimo is seeking an unattainable balance through a slow, inexorable subtraction. For him the lightness is associated with precision and determination, not with vagueness and abandonment to the case. The search of the figure is certainly crucial in his work. Each body takes shape with the same technique, but looks always slightly different.

After his working figuratively, he observes the human weakness and emotions of insufficiency in the universe. At present, he collaborates with størpunk and various galleries in Emilia, Veneto and Liguria in Italy, as well as Belgium and Switzerland.

© Bruno Walpoth

Bruno Walpoth was born in 1959 and currently lives in St. Ulrich, South Tirol. From 1978-1984 he studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, München under the supervision of Prof. Hans Ladner. His works are represented in major galleries all over the world.

Bruno Walpoth's human figures created from lime wood or walnut come about as a result of his meeting and dealing with models. In his or her outward appearance, the model serves as a cover surface for implied projections. Granted, the facial features and body forms correspond to those of the models, but the artist reduces the strong individual characteristics of the personality in his sculptural representation - those that would constitute the individuality in the classical sense of the portrait.

Every new work for the artist is a new challenge of build up tension. He succeds in this through a mixture of presence and absence, closeness and distance. The physical presence of his figures welcomes closeness, although there is nearly no option of direct contact with the figures. It is as if they avoid confrontation and are standing against interaction. The figures are standing between two positions looking confident in the future and being stuck in melancholy. They're not in action and are untouched by the environment. There are no searching eyes of coincindence. More consistent in their posture, the cautious existence is directed inwards. The observer who admits to it, is appealed to break the distance and to allow encounter.

© Frank Krüger

Frank Krüger currently lives in Munich, Germany. He is a self-taught artist who works primarily in oil paints. In his small-format artworks he depicts the human, mostly female figure. The basis for his paintings is formed by photographs, from which he takes cut-outs to translate them into his artistic style. His style is characterized by a strong blur, the motif only becomes clearly visible by walking further away.