This is the first exhibit that presents in a museum more than a hundred works by the Witkin twins, Joel-Peter and Jerome. Many of these pictures are featured for the first time.
Witkin & Witkin brings together the artistic work of the twin brothers Joel-Peter Witkin, photographer and Jerome Witkin, painter. The exhibit includes 50 years of artistic production that represents both, independent career exploring their own humanistic vision, but also creating a visual dialogue that intersects, and then takes a unique and individual direction.
Jerome and Joel-Peter Witkin are narrators who work with the formal scenic structure to tell their stories. Their art captures both imaginary and real events, as well as those torn from the drama of our collective memory. Inspired by visual history of religious and mythological iconography, as well as history of Western art, the influences in their work are as diverse as Goya, Grunewald, Beckmann, Sander and Arbus.
Joel-Peter Witkin’s photographies delight in immense detail and in layers of visual history. In them, each gesture and intention of the models results in a perfect combination, to then being work with paint, wax and marks making each picture unique. Jerome Witkin’s large canvases present scenes of epic proportions, which relate to events of our crisis periods, drama and human emotion. He is one of the best realistic painters today. Independently, each contributes to their work a complexity of historical art references that are intrinsically linked to their own art.
There are many aspects that distinguish one Witkin from the other: the plastic medium, dimensions and themes. However, their work has a common sense in narrative that even becomes theatrical, addressing transgression and tragedy issues, but devoid of sentimentality. Both choose epic and modest themes, as well as relevant characters in our days, showing the human condition with compassion from personal suffering, both physical and emotional, and approach moments of our shared history from slavery to the Holocaust, from Guernica to the 9/11 in the United States. Events that reflect in Jerome Witkin’s paintings, where drama is intensified by the realism of his powerful gaze, although with a sense of hope that affirms life.
The Witkin twins grew up and have lived most of their lives in the United States. Despite this, their work do not seem to be rooted in an “American” aesthetic, perhaps due to their history as children of immigrants, which explains in part their otherness, theri “non-belonging”. Their art resonates in a visual and cultural context of Mexican sensibility: when we see them here they do not feel so distant or “strange”.
Joel-Peter and Jerome Witkin’s pieces stand out. They are a visual challenge created by true masters in a plastic medium. As we immerse ourselves in their images, we remember our own humanism and empathy seen through their controversial yer extraordinary eyes.
From February 20th to June 12th 2016.