Museum exhibition

Arch of Hysteria. Between Madness and Ecstasy

Georg Herold
Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
21 July 2023 - 14 January 2024

The Museum der Moderne devotes a grand thematic exhibition to the motif of the arched body. Titled Arch of Hysteria. Between Madness and Ecstasy. A profoundly ambivalent figure between loss of self-control and utter self-possession, the so-called “arc de cercle,” the “grand” or “hysterical arch,” is an alluring motif with a long tradition in the history of art and culture. It appears both in depictions of dancers and acrobats and in illustrations of physical or psychological illness: the hyperextended (female) body can convey ecstatic rapture or a psychotic disorder as well as a virtuoso’s body control and expressiveness.

Arch of Hysteria is the first exhibition to focus entirely on this potent and prolific motif. Works of art from the past century drawn from a wide variety of contexts demonstrate the versatility of pose’s expressive potential—including its transmutation into abstract yet no less evocative and distinctive forms. The presentation sheds light on the motif’s (art-)historical roots as well as its more recent adaptations in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and video and performance art; several artists are creating works especially for the exhibition.

With works by: Ellen Auerbach, Charles Bell, Joseph Beuys, Alexandra Bircken, Günter Brus, Eglė Budvytytė, Nola Bunke, Alfred Czerny, Salvador Dalí, Denis Darzacq, Paul Gustave Doré, Max Ernst, VALIE EXPORT, Franz Fiedler, Agnès Geoffray, Gelatin, Georg Herold, Richard Hoeck, Athanasius Kircher, Erika Giovanna Klien, Gustav Klimt, Joachim Koester, Käthe Kollwitz, Rudolf Koppitz, Alfred Kubin, Erwin Lang, Ulrike Lienbacher, Madame d’Ora, Leslie De Melo, Manufaktur Friedrich Goldscheider, Meta Mettig-Ellenberger, Adi Nes, Tilman Peschel, Ronit Porat, Lotte Reiniger, Karl Reisenbichler, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Paul Richer, Auguste Rodin, Mileva Roller, Barbis Ruder, Charlotte Rudolph, Volker Saul, Valerie Schmidt, Wiebke Siem, Helene von Taussig, Markus Vallazza, Rainer Wölzl

Curators: Lena Nievers, Kerstin Stremmel

For more information please visit Museum der Moderne Salzburg.

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