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Carroll Dunham – Meso-kingdom, The Search for Orgone, 2002

Jan 12–Mar 2, 2002

For his first extensive solo show in Berlin, the American-born artist Carroll Dunham chose paintings and drawings of two new series called “The Search for Orgone” and “Meso-kingdom” as well as a group of prints.

Dunham is well-known for his bizarre, comic-related figures and his preoccupation with the human psyche. Both also play a role in his new artworks. The main motif of his paintings and drawings – executed in black & white only – is a male character seen in profile. This character is indicated by a few prominent signs such as his hat and jacket, but most remarkable are his grossly large teeth and a nose shaped like a penis. Mostly it is only the head that is seen in front of a landscape or an adumbrated city silhouette. The title “Search for Orgone” refers to Dunham's interest in the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich and his so-called Theory of Orgone (a further development of Freud's Theory of the Libido).

The series “Meso-kingdom” focuses more on the landscape or the surrounding of the character itself. Typical of Dunham's modus operandi is the vague mental starting point of the picture that only gradually takes form as it is being made. Considering such, the drawings are as significant as the paintings for the artist. The 13 exposed lithographs take on the broad theme of "relationships". These coloured ‘Female Portraits’ have a more organic feel in comparison to the male figure in all the other works; they are only surrounded by a freehand rectangle on a neutral background.