CONTEMPORARY ART STOCKROOM Kathrin Longhurst
Sold The Artist as a Young Girl 2020, oil on linen, 120cm x 120cm
Exhibited at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum in 2020 as part of the 90 year celebrations with The Portrait Project . Artist statement: The Artist as a Young Girl' is the third in a series of self-portraits that uses my own daughter as a metaphor for my life story. My childhood and youth have had an enormous impact on who I am as a person as well as on the subject matter in my work. As a child of the cold war, growing up behind the Berlin wall in the most controlled and ideologically hard-line satellite states of the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic, I acquired a very one-sided view of history, politics and the world in general. I was a teenager when I first discovered the West and had to relearn history and interpretations of world events. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, this deeply conflicted time of my life sparked an enormous interest in freedom of speech, propaganda and more recently women’s role in society and the push for greater gender equality. This painting depicts an adolescent female looking nervously over her shoulder. She could be taken from a film noir or a spy novel, her demeanours are exaggerated and cinematic. She is yet to become the empowered, confident woman she is destined to be. Here she is captured at a time that is uncertain, confusing, frightening but also full of possibilities. She is superimposed over newspaper print. The publication is the “Berliner Zeitung”, the main East German daily morning newspaper, highly censored and contributing to the spread of the Communist Party’s ideology. The front cover of the newspaper cited the date of the 29th December 1971, my birthdate. The main headlines from the day include criticism of the US invasion of Vietnam, ovations to the GDR-USSR trade exchange and industrial co-operation and a small feature on the role of public art and culture in our everyday life. Underneath the girls jacket you can glimpse a schematic view of a disassembled 70’ hairdryer, referencing a rebellion against women’s conformity and a nod to the 70’s feminist movement.