German artist Jana Gunstheimer presents first ever Dutch solo show at GEM

Entitled Mental Duels, GEM’s exhibition will feature Jana Gunstheimer’s pencil drawings and installations. With a degree in ethnology – a field in which cultural differences are explored by placing them in a past social or geographical context – Gunstheimer typically presents environments where both fiction and reality are present, questioning the role of the image.

Delicate and detailed, Gunstheimer’s drawings of renowned masterpieces by artists like Vermeer and Picasso are both copies and works of art in their own right. However, they also include gashes, tears, scratches, blank spaces, and other marks, revealing past destructive acts on works of art which have since been restored. Through these works, the artist shows how ideology, tradition, and beliefs can destroy an image. For example, she recreates a painting of Ivan the Terrible – angrily slashed by a viewer in 1913 and subsequently restored – taking care to include the knife marks on his face.

Gunstheimer’s style of presentation is scientific. She categorises, labels, and archives, enhancing the appearance of authenticity, and leading the viewer to question the legitimacy of what is presented. In this manner, Gunstheimer also references the development of images. Installations concerned with the processes of image making will also be a central part of this exhibition, which feature objects like cameras, studio lights, and printers.

Jana Gunstheimer solo show 03/2014
Jana Gunstheimer, Image of a non-permanent image #1, 2014.
Courtesy: Gemeente Museum

Jana Gunstheimer, "Woman with a Pearl Necklace", 2012, , Grafit auf Papier,
Jana Gunstheimer, Methods of Destruction / Woman With a Pearl Necklace, 2012.
Courtesy: Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf

Jana Gunstheimer, Licht, Feld und Störung, 2010-11.
Courtesy: Gemeente Museum

Jena Gunstheimer, Thank God it’s Abstract, 2013.
Courtesy: Gemeente Museum


Jana Gunstheimer, Methods of Destruction / Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan, 2012.
Courtesy: Gemeente Museum

by Louise Lui

Mental Duels will run from February 14 through June 7, 2015 at GEM Museum of Contemporary Art
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Stadhourdeslaan 41, 2517 HV Den Haag