DAMAGED – thalidomide victims in medical documents
Simone Mangos Figure 2 2012 (detail), oil on canvas, 150 × 100 cm; Grandmother’s clothes were altered to fit 2011, oil on canvas, 140 × 160 cm. All images courtesy the artist © Simone Mangos and VB Bild Kunst r.V.
AGNSW Contemporary Project
DAMAGED – thalidomide victims in medical documents makes specific reference to the tragedy surrounding the pharmaceutical drug thalidomide. The monumental works made using traditional techniques of oil painting are based on medical photographs and documents. The images, mostly from the 1960s and ’70s, have been assembled from archives, medical books, period journals and, in some cases, directly from survivors.
‘In the history of painting, deformed persons are typically represented as monsters, criminals and objects of contempt. Medical photography, at least up until the late 1980s, has mostly not been any different,’ observes Simone Mangos. ‘It is the individual victim who has to strip, have their body prodded, probed, stared at, photographed, discussed and decided upon as if they were not even present.’
Mangos’s paintings attempt to accurately reproduce the content and photographic qualities of these images, drawing attention to their subjugating, even cruel attitudes towards the subject.
Part of the Gallery’s program Focus on contemporary 2012
AGNSW Contemporary Projects are supported by Andrew Cameron.
2 Jun – 5 Aug 2012
Contemporary project space