Maria mit Jesuskind


Oil on canvas

180 x 110 cm (70 7/8 x 43 5/16 in.)

In Maria mit Jesuskind, Otto Mühl revisits the Virgin and Child motif with his typical biting derision. Drawn in a thick red line on a neutral background, a bare-breasted Mary with Picasso-like features tosses the baby Jesus up into the air. They look at the viewer with an offended expression on their faces.

Known for his commitment to Viennese Actionism, Mühl is more famous for his performances than his paintings. He seeks to "go beyond painting by depicting the process of its destruction" yet always returns to the medium and, what’s more, to figurative motifs in order to better undermine them. By attacking an icon of European art history, here he pursues a destructive, and in this case symbolic, goal.

Maria mit Jesuskind, which is part of the Pinault Collection along with other works by the same artist, was shown in the major group exhibition "Mapping the studio" held in 2009 at the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi in Venice.