by Deborah Sengl
9 September - 21 October, 2017
Opening: Saturday, 9 September 2017, 7-9 p.m.
In her new series Broken Soldiers Deborah Sengl further pursues a long-standing theme of her work: the relationship between victim and perpetrator. Unlike in her Camouflage series, however, where the predator disguised himself as his prey, this relationship now is not presented as a power struggle between different protagonists, but as a fault line running through the individual himself.
Sengl's depiction of the soldier is fundamentally different for the heroic glorification of the warrior/soldier we find in European art from its beginnings all the way into the 20th century. It also deviates from the critical portrayal of the soldier in the works of artists like Otto Dix and George Grosz who unflinchingly zeroed in on the inhumane horror of the senseless slaughter during the First World War. Sengl's focus is rather on the traumatized and broken individual, the man in despair over his own deeds, the human being who is at the same time both perpetrator and victim.
The dehumanization of the "other" is also the theme of Sengl's caustic re-workings of propaganda posters, mostly from the First and Second World Wars. The demonization of the enemy, oftentimes depicted as a wild beast or as somehow sub-human, as well as the way the horrors of any kind of warfare are made light of, is presented and revealed in all of its shocking absurdity.