Susanne Ristow disproves the prejudice that art can no longer violate taboos with her new series of paintings and watercolours. By using her son as a model for this series entitled “ARE YOU A BOY?”, she is making a commitment to motherhood. For a long time, however, such a confession threatened the existence of female artists, as they were denied the right to take art seriously enough if they were also mothers. Accordingly, many female artists within the art world kept quiet, even repeatedly denied that they had children, making it a taboo. But this is not the only reason why Ristow’s series is courageous. It is also courageous in that she paints her 19-year-old son in poses and postures that are normally associated with women. The series is based on more or less famous images from the history of art and pop culture, each centred on
centre on female figures, but which are now re-enacted by her son Konrad Béla. She has thus challenged him in his gender identity (all the more so as he himself is by no means queer), has exposed him, as a mother and as an artist, in relation to a particularly intimate area – and has thus done something that is generally taboo and even more so within a mother-child relationship. Text excerpt, Wolfgang Ullrich