Damaged Romanticism: A Mirror of Modern Emotion brings together the work of 15 internationally recognized contemporary artists, whose work explores the confrontation between classic, highly idyllic romanticism and contemporary, pragmatic realism. Damaged Romanticism revolves around a seemingly simple premise—powerful, positive artwork can spring from profound disappointment. It captures the complexity of contemporary reality by giving form to intricate, even contradictory sentiments, placing rebellion, disillusionment, and defiance side by side. Works on view in the exhibition—paintings, sculpture, installations, photographs and videos—explore varied subjects such as nature, the modern landscape, the human body, identity, relationships, and spirituality, presenting artists’ multilayered responses to the world.
In her opening essay, Terrie Sultan offers an overview of the concept behind the exhibition and explains how the chosen works capture the complexity of contemporary reality by giving form to ambivalent, even contradictory sentiments of rebellion, disillusionment, and defiance. David Pagel considers the role of Romanticism and Neoclassicism in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and how “damaged romanticism” is a reinterpretation of this. The links between art and film are further explored by Colin Gardner. Preceding the main catalogue is a short story by Nick Flynn, a crystal formed entirely of holes, a new work of fiction written especially for this exhibition.
The volume features works by an international roster of artists, including Richard Billingham (England), Berlinde de Bruykere (Belgium), Edward Burtynsky (Canada), Sophie Calle (France), Petah Coyne (United States), Angelo Filomeno (Italy), Jesper Just (Denmark),Mary McCleary (United States), Florian Maier-Aichen (Germany/United States), Wangechi Mutu (Kenya/United States), Julia Oschatz (Germany), Anneè Olofsson (Sweden), David Schnell (Germany), and Ryan Taber/Cheyenne Weaver (United States). Each artist has an individual catalogue entry written by the contributors, examining their work and placing it in the context of the exhibition, and including full biographical and bibliographical sections.