Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Nakeds and the Nudes-- the art of Francien Krieg

Take a good long look at the image on the right by Dutch artist Francien Krieg.

Many of you will be instantly reminded of the famed Leigh Bowery portrait by Lucien Freud.

But while the Freud piece captured Bowery's persona non grata, the woman at right has much more to lose in her fully exposed form.

Nudity is at its base form the very definition of exposed vulnerability.

The model's largesse is literally starting to hide what defines her feminity; the genitalia fully hidden by the abdomen's rolls of skin.

But while previous generations may have viewed her as a "fertility goddess," or been termed "voluptuous," modern society frowns upon her, and hides her from view.

We are in a new era of shunning.

In fact, few artists today cover the human form in this manner, unless it's in the endless "snapshot aesthetic" of contemporary photography.

(Thank you, Nan Goldin for sending us down that dark and dreary path.)

But truthfully, I myself have never been one much for the full monty.

In fact, my first memories of being confronted with nudity were usually of my family-- and I didn't think twice about what it all really meant, nor did I care to.

Then, at about age 8, my mother took me into a B. Dalton bookstore.

For some reason I think my little mind hadn't yet grasped that not only was my family naked under their clothes, but also-- (drumroll)... OTHER PEOPLE as well.

And boy, did I get the crash course.

While mother thumbed her way through some Patti Boyd biography, my tiny hands picked up a copy of a John Lennon tome right next to it.

Then, opening the paperback to the center, I got my first real taste of NUDITY.

Not just nude, but NEKKID.

Not just NEKKID, but ARTISTIC NAKED-- i.e., John and Yoko, in all their flaccid, hairy, pasty glory, together, with little air separating their bodies.

My little mind felt immediately unclean.

But now I find myself, years later, typing reviews on a regular basis of artists that focus on highly-charged sexual content, or the dreaded "nude" word.

And truth be told, rarely do I bat an eyelash at the imagery.

I've seen just about every orifice in close-up form in some way or another.

From the Polaroid cock-sucking self-portraits of Terry Richardson, to David LaChapelle's plasticized shrines to well-endowed shemale Amanda Lepore, nothing seems to phase me; "Bores me," yes.

But for some reason, I've continued to have a disrespect for artists who ONLY choose to cover the human form.

But now that I've been doing some intense research of artists' web pages, I'm beginning to truly appreciate a finely-crafted and different type of nude.

Krieg's work is quite different than anything I've seen.

Her stunning use of foreshortening and manipulation of perspective truly makes these individuals come alive--flaws and all.

Maybe it's that hand shake I got when I happened upon Terry Richardson himself a few weeks ago that's made me rethink my opinion of blatant in-your-face sexuality.

He's didn't seem that bad of a guy, in fact.

But with Krieg, these are not necessarily sexual in nature.

Hailing from The Hague, Krieg's subjects are not your standard Vogue cover models.

Many are extremely obese, or at least can call cellulite as a dear friend.

They are real in every way-- you can see the veins lying close to the skin.

The bodies appear to be well-worn and lived in.

Stretch marks appear throughout the bodies.

You can tell that there's stories behind each face through the direct confrontation of the viewer, but while nudity again represents vulnerability-- you cannot pierce through their emotional shields.

In the image directly below, I especially love how the skin of the elbow is so rough and red.

Here is a woman who has experienced some hard times, and her eyes seem to challenge as if to say, "Yeah? So what? What are you going to do about it?"

Krieg is not represented by a gallery yet here in New York, but I bet it won't be long before someone takes notice of her seriously amazing work.

All art doesn't have to be beautiful, after all-- but there is a beauty in raw humanity.

For more information on Francien Krieg check out her web site at:


fkrieg said...

Thank you for this text about my works,
i would like to get in contact with you, let me know what is your emailadres,
thanx and greetings
Francien krieg

Oly said...

Hi, Francien.
You can contact me at

The wonders of the internet...