April 23, 2023



The exhibition Anbaden shows an art-historical cross-section of the motif “Susanna taking a bath”, from classical masters such as Dürer, Rubens, and Renoir to contemporary positions such as Juno Calypso or Conny Maier. The long tradition of depicting the female nude in the context of water as a symbol of fertility is illuminated and at the same time the traditional view of the female body is questioned through contemporary positions.

The work shown, Susanna and the Elders, by Rubens, conveys the biblical story of Susanna bathing at a well, watched by two priests. When they want to abuse her, Susanna defends herself and is then accused of adultery, which was punishable at the time. It seems that no action can escape the patriarchal structures. Perhaps the first historical “metoo” incident?

As is often the case in classical works, the painter draws attention to the body. Susanna’s light skin literally shines in the otherwise dark background.
If you just condemn the two old people, you are already a voyeur yourself.

The topicality of the topic remains unbroken. How politically charged and socially sexualized the handling of the female body is to this day can be seen in the recent discussions about permission for everyone to swim without covering their breasts in Berlin’s open-air pools.

And the question remains, do art and artificial intelligence have to be realistic?