Priska von Martin

Female torso (Partially destroyed figure), 1981

About the object

The torso standing on a simple wooden board deliberately reveals the materials and traces of its manufacture. In the upright pose, the sparing painting and the broken surface of the body reveal aspects of incarceration, painful disintegration and destruction. With this »partially destroyed figure« (von Martin), Priska von Martin - for whom »the finding of form tells of what it is to be human« (von Martin) - shows her independent voice in the field of expressive sculpture in the 1980s.
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Alongside numerous animal motifs (horses and reindeer), the representation of the female figure plays a major role in Priska von Martin’s sculptural work. She succeeded in producing biographical and existential connections in the styling and design of her work in both subject groups. This is clearly manifested in the treatment of the surface and the fragmentary body of the female figure, the attitude of which recalling the clarity and quietude of archaic statues. The torso, positioned on a simple wooden board, deliberately shows the traces of its manufacture as well as the substance of the material used. Aspects of captivity, painful decomposition and destruction are revealed in the upright concentration, the sparse coloration and disintegrating surface of the body. In the shape of this “partly destroyed figure”, Priska von Martin, for whom the “form-finding process speaks of what it is to be human” (von Martin), commands a unique position in the focus of the expressive language of sculptors during the1980s. (translation: Timothy Connell)

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