artist / participant

press release

One of the central features in Justine Otto’s paintings, childhood and adolescence, is also evident in this current cycle of work. Her portraits are almost exclusively of girls and young women. However it is not the individuality of these objects that is portrayed, but the attributed role by the artist. The artist chooses to represent mostly childish role models, which are in transition from childhood to youth. The portraits are often expansive to include scenic presentations, which in the first instance are reflective of innocence and childlike diffidence. Closer scrutiny, reveals a perplexing almost surreal, dream like scenario which threatens to descent into chaos or an abyss. In a singularly playful manner, the figures vacillate between naivety and ambiguity. Even though there arises the feeling of melancholy, loneliness and yearning in some of her portraits, this belies the fact that the artist has not allocated these individuals passive roles. Quite the contrary she has given them very active roles ie they search, discover, in some instances even kill (albeit be it seen as fun, or in a playful manner). All nuances, activities and emotions, stand equally side by side. The protagonists are influenced by coincidences, over which they exercise no, or limited control. What remains, the underlying happening however, is never self explanatory or overtly evident. It is this ability for narrative, coupled with a vibrant expressiveness, that makes Justine Otto’s (pupil of Prof. Anger) work stand out. In recent years Justine Otto has found recognition in the art world and her work has been exhibited inter alia in Frankfurt and the Kunstverein Niebüll (art association), the Berlinische Galerie, the Kunsthaus Essen, Kunstverein in Aschaffenburg, Wiesbaden and Celle.

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Justine Otto - time for plan b