The presentation entitled Masquerade consists of watercolours made by the American shockrock singer/artist Marilyn Manson. The theme of Manson’s art is not only the reality of pain and loathing but also – and perhaps primarily – the perception of these. With soft, almost tender lines and colours, Manson contrasts an oppressive alienation of bodies.
Manson has often emphasized that his work as an artist cannot be seen
separately from his music and performances. Painting is not a hobby but
rather a product on a par with his other expressions of artistic
creativity. In this context, we are not dealing with a pop artist who
paints some pleasant landscapes as a means of relaxation. As soon as the
viewer first encounters the work, a feeling of discomfort begins to
make itself felt. And those images remain in the mind’s eye for quite
some time. Just as with his stage performances, Marilyn Manson reveals
Manson’s autobiography The Long Hard Road out of Hell, dating from 1998, is a ruthlessly candid description of the anxieties of a boy who grew up as an outsider in the stifling Midwest. He describes how he found in music a form of release from internal tensions. In his analysis he is extremely hard on himself, his family, school and friends. A conspicuous element here is the recurrent distinction between ostentatious violence and refined fragility. The cheap watercolour paint that he uses, for example, is in stark contrast to the themes that he paints. It is not without reason that art historians occasionally draw a comparison with drawings by Egon Schiele. Just as with the great Austrian artist, Manson’s work displays a dark alienation of bodies with delicate lines and colours.
This presentation represents the beginning of a series of larger and smaller exhibitions that the Groninger Museum is organizing in conjunction with the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival.