Sex Work

Birgit Jürgenssen

Galerie Hubert Winter, S5

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Birgit Jürgenssen, Untitled (Self with Skull), 1979, SX70 Polaroid, 10,5 x 8,7 cm, Estate Birgit Jürgenssen. Courtesy of Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna

Birgit Jürgenssen, Untitled (Self with Skull), 1979, SX70 Polaroid, 10,5 x 8,7 cm, Estate Birgit Jürgenssen. Courtesy of Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna

Birgit Jürgenssen’s work is based on the emancipatory potential of Surrealism within the context of 1970s feminism. From the late 1960s onwards, she deconstructed stereotypes, investigating the female body and its metamorphosis between ambivalence, rebellion and submission. Her practice synthesized a wide range of impulses, generating a multi-layered oeuvre.

Galerie Hubert Winter presents a selection of works by Jürgenssen crossing different media and representing a critical inquiry of the female body – its physical and imaginary potential. Embracing and exceeding diverse elements from myth to fetishism and from individual to collective history, Jürgenssen employs disguise, visual distortion and iconographical and methaphoric details. In her works, the female body (recognizably the artist’s own body) mirrors itself within a system of reflections that evokes – in between appearance and disappearance, life and death – the generating power of the individual. Inventive, provocative, ironic and playful, Jürgenssen’s work confronts taboos relating to gender, sexuality and social structures.

Birgit Jürgenssen (Born 1949, Vienna; died 2003, Vienna) Birgit Jürgenssen began her artistic career in 1968 studying at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, where, in 1980, she became a lecturer, preceding her 15-year-teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Jürgenssen’s solo shows have included: ‘Birgit Jürgenssen Retrospective’, Bank Austria Art Forum, Vienna (2011); ‘footwear. Subversive Aspects of ‘Feminism’, MAK, Vienna (2004); ‘Früher oder später’, State Museum, Linz (1998), and ‘Lineaturen’, Albertina, Vienna (1978).  Jürgenssen’s work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Britain, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and MAK, Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna.