At first sight two very different artists, Egon Schiele and Francesca Woodman's shared ability to show bodies in states of heightened emotion are foregrounded in Tate Liverpool's show
How can art express movement in the human figure? And how does it convey emotion and strain through depictions of the body? A summer exhibition at Tate Liverpool will try to answer those questions by pairing work by influential 20th century American photographer, Francesca Woodman with drawings by Austrian expressionist Egon Schiele.
Life in Motion: Egon Schiele/Francesca Woodman, which opens on 24th May, will investigate how Woodman’s photographs depict both physical movement and what she referred to as “the body’s inner force”. It will also highlight the relationship between the two artists’ work, and how Woodman’s images of the body from the late 1970s illuminate Schiele’s drawings – which were made more than fifty years before.
Co-curated by Tate Liverpool’s interim artistic director, Marie Nipper, and assistant curator, Tamar Hemmes, Life in Motion:Egon Schiele/Francesca Woodman continues a tradition the gallery has established of comparing and contrasting two different artists’ work. Woodman’s long exposure shots of the body contrast with Schiele’s sharp, minimal line drawings, but both present intimate depictions of people in moments of strain, emotion or movement.
The exhibition will feature works from Woodman’s My House Series and Eel Series, spanning two years from 1976-78. Her monochrome, often surreal nudes explore extended moments of movement and transition and were taken in her house in Rhode Island (My House Series) and in Rome (Eel Series). They study not just the body, but the scenery and architecture around it, sometimes with the two playing off one another. The works are taken from late in the short career of the artist, who died in 1981 aged just 22.
The Schiele works on show will focus less on his sexualised and sometimes controversial drawings, and more on his depictions of himself and others in states of heightened emotion. His quick lines reflect the animation and energy of his subjects, and the exhibition tracks both his evolving style in the early 1900s, and his move towards colour.
In addition to the exhibition, Tate Liverpool will run a four-week monoprinting course in June, teaching and exploring how to capture movement on paper.
Life in Motion: Egon Schiele/Francesca Woodman is on show at Tate Liverpool from 24 May-23 September www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-liverpool