LEA VON WINTZINGERODE
June 18th - July 30th, 2022
Got to give up life in this netherworld
Got to go up to where the air is stale
And live a life of pleasantries
Mingle in the modern families
This limbo is no place
To be a digit in another space
In another crowd
I'm nameless bound
SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES
As those who unhierarchically come together in hell after the final judgment, so are the characters in Lea von Wintzingerode's paintings in Overground, her first solo-show with brunand brunand in Berlin. isabelle rimbaud with aene's face opens the exhibition lit in pink and serves as both a preface and an epilogue. This chapel-like setting is followed by a narrow corridor where one can only have an almost threateningly close encounter with mercier descloux, depicting French musician and songwriter Lizzy Mercier Descloux stepping out of the shower as photographed by then-boyfriend Michel Esteban in 1975.
Five medium and small-format paintings, distributed in the space in which a purple velvet curtain covers the window, avoiding natural light or any relationship to the outer world, stand in as portraits of musicians and bands. Music and literature, often by marginalised or underground artists, are not only references in Lea's practice but have constituted the backbone of her iconographic program of the past years, as also seen in her current solo exhibition “notes on radical love” at the Oldenburger Kunstverein. Caetano Veloso is depicted as posing for the cover of "Araçá Azul", his most controversial and experimental album up to date. We see his naked torso reflected on a mirror, above which he is standing in confident fashion. His belly, genitals and armpit appear in the foreground, in a perspective that distorts the perception of scale of the various parts of his body; one can effortlessly draw some parallels to his compatriot Tarsila do Amaral's 'Abaporu', a paradigmatic painting that inspired the Anthropophagite Manifesto and constitutes a milestone in Brazilian modernity, as well as to the movement itself. In Tarsila's words: 'The Anthropophagite movement of 1928 had its origins in my canvas Abaporu, cannibal: a solitary, monstrous figure with immense feet sitting on a green plain, one bent arm resting on its knee, the hand supporting the tiny feather-weight head. In the foreground, a cactus bursting into an absurd flower'. Just as the indigenous natives had allegedly cannibalized European colonizers, as the proponents of the Anthropophagite movement claimed, so should Brazilian intellectuals “devour” Europe, taking what was most culturally nutritious from the old continent. By purposely representing local intellectuals as cannibals, Anthropophagy granted greater agency to South American artists and thus inverted the power relations between center and periphery.  Nudity was also not an arbitrary choice for Caetano's album cover, rather a deliberate provocation which also finds affiliation with the Anthropophagite movement: 'What trampled the truth was clothing, that impermeable layer between the inner and the outer worlds. Reaction against the clothed man.' The most literal reference to this, anthropophagic, hangs in front of the curtain next to go fuck yourself (mercenárias). The painting depicts a mouth with red lips and a fluffy moustache, open as if screaming or laughing. Isolated and independent from a body, the mouth stands alone in front of the curtain like a character of a surrealist theater play – an artistic movement that, just like the modernist Brazilians, rejected the western Aristotelian logic. Next to it, a portrait of Mercenárias, a legendary LGBTQ punk-rock band formed in São Paulo in 1982.
overground, the work that gives title to the exhibition, stems from the homonymous song by Siouxie and the Banshees, a British rock band formed in London in 1976. Perhaps the most immediate connotation of the term overground is given in relation to its apparent opposite, underground, which may seem unexpected for the repertoire of characters in Lea's exhibition. Overground stands for an aim rather; a hope, an intention. It stands for a positive exposure, for a confrontation, for the action of emerging from an invisible underground. Inspired by the cover of the album "The Scream', which includes the song overground, the painting of the same name depicts figures moving as if affected by a different gravity. The painting is predominantly blue and purple, colours that string together the exhibition, that open and close it – the hard pink of the neon light at the entrance meeting the saturated violet of the curtain in the back. While the color purple can be charged with symbolic, mystic or metaphoric connotations, here it is used as a present transjective element of linking, of re-collecting what occurs between the purple light and its solid reflection – the purple velvet curtain. While purple is also present in caetano, 1973 as well as in mercier descloux and in the turtleneck of liz who's leaning the face against her fists, the last paining of the show, baby (os mutantes) is kept strictly in browns and blacks, where burned and chalk-faced ghost-like figures of the experimental rock-band Os Mutantes appear. While band members Sergio Diaz and Rita Lee seem to be singing to themselves, the third and most drifting member of the trio, Arnaldo Baptista – Pianist, composer, arranger, singer-songwriter and guitarist – is looking across the stage, playing his strings with absent glance, facing the visitor one last time before heading out, to the light, outside.
 Camila Maroja, 'From São Paulo to Paris and Back Again. Tarsila do Amaral', in https://stedelijkstudies.com/journal/from-sao-paulo-to-paris-and-back-again-tarsila-do-amaral/
Lea von Wintzingerode was born in Bayreuth in 1990. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna and the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg. In 2016 she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree under Prof. Jutta Koether. She lives and works in Berlin. The Oldenburger Kunstverein currently holds a comprehensive solo exhibition of her work that runs through July 31st.