Published  15/01/2002

Blood and lust


There is a bloodbath in Frankfurt, and it isn’t the result of Al Quaida’s targeting of the European Bank. ‘’Blood: Perspectives on Art, Power, Politics and Pathology’, runs through until 27 January at Schirn Kunsthalle, Romerberg, Frankfurt-am-Main and at mak.frankfurt. It seems an inappropriate ‘all-the-family’ menu in the run-up to Christmas and yet, for 2001, which was not short of bloodbaths on both sides of the ‘Enduring’ fence constructed to deal with Osama Bin Laden, it is perhaps timely that we are here waylaid by tableaux about blood sacrifice in pre-Colombian societies (in the preliminary section) followed by the Eucharist and the cult of Holy Blood. A central European preoccupation with bloodlines, à la Hapsburg, then revealing follows how, as with the Romanovs in-breeding produces grotesqueries of the human image. The late 20th century section gives us, reassuringly it feels, Benetton, Beuys, and Gunter Brus — the latter in heavy auto-destruct while the blood and urine mingles. Some of us will prefer a simple black pudding for breakfast, thanks.

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