Tourists are always the others! Many travellers feel they are higher beings, quasi-ideals of themselves, and the embarrassing fellow travellers get in the way of their self-perception.
Undine Bandelin's works play with the cliché and the image of others. Preferred target: bourgeois. Preferred (and increasingly enthusiastic) buyers of her works: the same. This surprising symbiosis is partly due to the fact that only the others seem to be meant. Masochism and vicarious amusement also play a role. For Undine Bandelin is far too intelligent and shrewd to fall into dumb clichés. "Everything has a twist and exaggerates the normal," the artist suggests.
Presented with artistic virtuosity, expressively exaggerated, painted with a strong palette, Undine Bandelin tells exciting stories of self-perception and the perception of others. Her two works shown in the exhibition ">1000 Words" depict an important facet of contemporary narrative.
The painting "The Triumph" (2020, oil and acrylic on canvas, 140 x 180 cm) depicts a group of older, presumably wealthy, possibly conservative, in all probability American activists. Suggested stucco and mirror reliefs in the background provide an illustrious setting. The five pose for a snapshot. A portly woman on the left, equipped with a cowboy hat and large bag, gives a thumbs-up in typical photo fashion. What is striking is that despite their clothing, the ladies appear naked, almost ghostly transparent. Their portrayal in putrid, greenish tones reinforces the impression of aloofness.
An exception is the eldest, depicted in a red dress with an op art pattern. She seems more present, more real, like a German grandma (with poodle on her arm) in the midst of a projection of Texan Trump fans.
A similar effect of hidden non-affiliation is concealed in the portrait format "Die Edelmänner" (The Noblemen, 2020, oil and acrylic on canvas, 170 x 120 cm), which is from the series of paintings "Macht und Ohnmacht" (Power and Powerlessness). The work shows three men on a red bench, in a darkroom with red, purple and green floor tiles. The gentlemen are naked, but not really - the gentleman on the right is wearing epaulettes that look like remnants of a uniform that has become transparent. "Imagine him naked", we are advised when we have to deal with authorities we want to demystify. This is exactly what the artist does, and lo and behold, physical flaws come to light that help us to stop taking the other person too seriously.
Two of the gentlemen appear distant, withdrawn, legs crossed, smiling smugly. The hairstyle and beard suggest that the one on the left is from the 18th century, the one on the right from the 19th. The middle figure, who leans towards the viewer, appears open, straightforward, a little naïve and well-meaning.
Is he the counterpart of the woman with the poodle from the "Triumph"? Perhaps even her husband? Are they secret portraits of the artist's parents or grandparents? Undine Bandelin's paintings embrace clues, allusions and humour, but sarcasm and cynicism are also by no way thematically foreign to them.
Undine Bandelin was born in Jena in 1980. She studied fine arts at the Bauhaus University in Weimar from 2002-2005, and painting at the Burg Giebichenstein Art College in Halle from 2005 to 2011, where she earned her diploma and subsequently completed a master's degree in painting under Prof. Pleuger. In 2012, the artist received a scholarship from the Kunststiftung Sachsen-Anhalt, in 2013 a working scholarship from the Künstlerhaus Meinersen and in 2014 a scholarship from the Landesverband Lippe. In 2015-17 she taught "Painting in the Context of New Media" at the HGB Leipzig.