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Heide Hatry, Heads and Tales

Elga Wimmer
526 West 26th Street, 3rd Floor, 212-206-0006
March 19 - May 2, 2009
Reception: Thursday, March 19, 6 - 9 PM
Web Site

The artist and some of the authors who collaborated in the project will be present

Heide Hatry is a force of nature. She is an artist and a humanist who is making a selfless contribution to life. And that is what art has always been about. —Joel-Peter Witkin

They say the human face is the door to the soul. Heads and Tales gives a moving and original view on this subject. Who are we really?—Marina Abramovic

Elga Wimmer PCC is pleased to announce an exhibition and book release party for Heads and Tales by Heide Hatry, in conjuction with readings, talks and book signings.

The portraits in Heads and Tales are photographic documentations of sculptures created by German artist Heide Hatry out of animal skin and body parts. They consist of untreated pigskin over a clay armature with raw meat for lips. The book is a collaborative anthology consisting of Hatry’s images and stories by twenty-seven prominent and emerging authors who were charged with giving lives to Hatry’s creations.

Hatry intended her sculptures to provide springboards for stories, reminiscences or meditations on the lives of women. She asked a number of female writers to select the image of one of her women and create a life for her. As the visual work addresses issues of violence, death and gender identity, the writing reflects similar concerns specific to women. The stories are not necessarily political or polemical, but more typically resort to fantasy, satire, irony and other subversive modes of presentation to disrupt the hegemony of the everyday and release the power of its horror. In her introduction to the book, renowned feminist theorist Catharine MacKinnon remarks, “Finding a way to be a woman is finding a way to live with fatal knowledge.” Hatry has a penchant for difficult subjects that press directly against mortality, fear and alienation. Her sculptures speak the fatal knowledge that others are at pains to suppress.

The portrait of a face staring into the camera or captured in a snapshot doesn’t normally conjure thoughts of death, in fact quite the opposite, even though we are often, in reality, looking at the living image of the dead when we view a photograph. Every photograph is a memento mori, but as we prefer to forget that reminder of death, we are easily persuaded that these images, too, represent real, living people.

Heads and Tales, published by Charta Art Books (Milan/ New York, 2009), is a collaborative anthology with an introduction by Catharine MacKinnon; “Heads” by Heide Hatry; and “Tales” by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Roberta Allen, Jennifer Belle, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Svetlana Boym, Rebecca Brown, Mary Caponegro, Thalia Field, Lo Galluccio, Diana George, Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, Jessica Hagedorn, Elizabeth Hand, Heather Hartley, Joanna Howard, Katia Kapovich, Lydia Millet, Micaela Morrissette, Carol Novack, Julie Oakes, Barbara Purcell, Selah Saterstrom, Johannah Schmid, Iris Smyles, Luisa Valenzuela, Anna Wexler and Can Xue.

Heide Hatry is a visual artist and curator. She grew up in Germany, where she studied art at various art schools and art history at the University of Heidelberg. Since moving to NYC in 2003 she has curated several exhibitions in Germany, Spain and the USA (notably Skin at the Goethe Institut in New York, the Heidelberger Kunstverein and Galeria Tribeca in Madrid, Spain; Out of the Box at Elga Wimmer PCC in NYC, Carolee Schneemann, Early and Recent Work, A Survey at Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, MA and Meat After Meat Joy at Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, NYC). She has shown her own work at museums and galleries in those countries as well and edited more than a dozen books and art catalogues. Kehrer Verlag published her book Skin in 2005.
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