Magdalena Kröner, in: Süddeutsche Zeitung – Feuilleton, 12. August 2002

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Süddeutsche Zeitung – Feuilleton

Monday August 12, 2002

Girl, Girl. Teen Spirit: How Women Artists rediscover „Girlism“

By Magdalena Kroener

Here we go again: Adolescence is once more the fashion of the hour. Especially female adolescence, the Lolita complex, does by far not only greet us from the newsstands of this world. Girls, wherever you look: We see them in movies by Larry Clark, or in Sofia Coppola’s „The Virgin Suicides“, in the fashion of Stella McCartney, and online at one can even get a date with them.

But the „grrrls“, as they teeth-clenchingly liked to call themselves already in the nineties, appear more and more also in painting: young women artists develop counter positions to the mainstream of new, mostly male, realists, that have been filling the canvasses again for a few years. These are far from abstraction and have striking similarity with our real environment. The list of artists with adolescent subject matters is long: Rita Ackermann, Nicky Hoberman, Karen Kilimnik, Elizabeth Peyton, Bettina Sellmann, Katharina Wulffen. To name but a few.


On the Border of Insanity

Bettina Sellmann leads her laughing girls close to the edge of hysteria. Modeled after fashion photographs, they are throwing their heads back and are painted, sprayed or dripped onto the canvas in candy colored acrylic paint. „Other than in the eighties I don’t have to emphasize the point any more that our heads are full of images from outside. Things might be more intangible therefore but that does not make them less influential.“ The ice under Sellmann’s creatures seems thin: The young women seem about to transgress the borderline to insanity or destruction…