Onlookers, Part II (from the series: Looking at Lookers)

Lisa Glauer

Lisa Glauer, Onlookers, Part II (2020) Foto © Lisa Glauer
Lisa Glauer: Onlookers, Part II (2020), Foto © Patricia Escriche
Lisa Glauer, Onlookers, Part II (2020) Foto © Lisa Glauer

Attempts to put knowledge and freedom of choice on a different basis meet monumental machines of discipline and control. As societies tighten their normative framework in the midst of global counter-reactions, their power is becoming more and more noticeable. In her work, Lisa Glauer has consistently dealt with the contradictory power politics that shape the history of the Charité hospital complex in Berlin.

Jan Verwoert, in: What if it won’t stop here?, Archive Books, 2018.

The large-format picture linocut, printed in bold, deep black oil paint on bright white canvas, shows a section of an auditorium. The color varies in thickness and texture. The paint application shows clear traces of the manufacturing process. The figures appear roughly hewn and sometimes very abstract. Sometimes the faces are painted over in white; they look erased. The result is a semi-abstracted grid of spectators. Among the depicted figures are nurses and doctors, as well as all sorts of other medical professionals, who are listening to a lecturer. The picture captures how their medical gaze is developed, trained and shaped.

We are looking at figures who are sitting in the lecture hall as people do to this day. Some sit uncomfortably, leaning against backrests, with crossed arms, some with a skeptical or bored gaze, some whisper or flirt with their neighbors or look at the ceiling… they are expectant, annoyed, interested.

Exhibition visitors are either in the position of the viewing object or the lecturer in front of the picture.

The work quotes an archive picture from the 1960s and 1970s, which was taken in the Charitè Women’s Clinic, which was then in the former GDR.