Renate Bertlmann


handblown Murano glass and metal blade
three parts, 11 3/4 x 5 inches each
edition 5 of 20

Since the 1970s, Austrian artist Renate Bertlmann has produced an uncompromising body of work in a wide range of media that address issues of gender, sexuality, and eroticism. Bombastic and unapologetically confrontational, Bertlmann for many years remained an outsider from the mainstream art world. The conversation surrounding her work has shifted in the last decade or so, seen most assuredly in her representation of Austria in the 2019 Venice Biennale, the first time a female artist has represented the country. At the center of her Venice installation is a grid of 312 glass roses, each hand blown in Murano, with a razor blade protruding from the center. The razor blade is not uncommon in Bertlmann’s work, and she often uses it to shift a beautiful, tactile, or seductive object into dangerous territory, seen here in three roses connected to the Venice installation. Most recently, Bertlmann’s work was featured in important exhibitions such as Women – Feminist avant-garde of the 1970’, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, which travelled from The Photographer’s Gallery, London; Renate Bertlmann: Amo Ergo Sum, Sammlung Verbund, Vienna; The World Goes Pop, Tate Modern, London; and Burning Down The House, The 10th Edition of the Gwangju Biennale, South Korea.