« Rejected » illustrates a very special category of portraits created by Michael Clegg and Martin Guttmann since the early 1980s: the so-called "Rejected Commissions". In the course of their careers, the artists were repeatedly confronted with the rejection of finished portraits by their clients. These images then remain the physical and intellectual property of the artists. These "Rejected Commissions" illustrate a situation and aspect of the commissioned portrait that reveals the power games and the aesthetic and individual hierarchies that govern the protocols and photoshoots. Clegg & Guttmann chose a formal language that refers to specific epochs and aesthetics of art history, in particular the Dutch Golden Age and chiaroscuro. They carried certain elements of the "bourgeois portrait" into their work. With a selection of portraits of politicians, art collectors and gallery owners, the exhibition Rejected reveals the spheres of power that are part of the fabric of contemporary art. Clegg & Guttmann question poses, positions, gestures, backdrops and props that also construct the language of power.
Available at Konschthal and via Hatje Cantz Verlag.