matthias taube







Penthesilea and the Pieces of Achilles

One of the most tragic moments of love in all of art is the genesis of inspiration for this project, begun in autumn 2010.

In Heinrich von Kleist's play "Penthesilea," the eponymous Amazonian queen, out of her sense of duty to battle against the Greeks and to avoid the alleged subjugation of her people, tears her beloved Achilles apart with her dogs, even as he has already utterly surrendered himself to her as a husband. Awakening from her raging frenzy, she comes to realize that the system of constant war and conflict has only produced misery, and that she herself has become a mere instrument of murder. Penthesilea renounces her duties, joining her beloved in death.

These drawings and mixed media on wood and paper are attempts to express the inner turmoil that lives within every intense love. Love is always subject to adversity and contrariety. Thus lovers are tender at times, but also vicious, self-righteous, hurtful, or vulnerable at others. Both the grace and ugliness of love life should be recognizable within these images.