We have long loved the work of Austrian artist Renate Bertlmann, icon of the 1970’s feminist avant-garde. For the first time, her work has been compiled into a comprehensive monograph – a striking 300 page curation compiled by Gabriele Schor and Jessica Morgan. Its publication coincides with an exhibition currently showing at the Sammlung Verbund in Vienna entitled Amo Ergo Sum [I Love Therefore I Am]. Bertlmann presents a trilogy of concepts: “Pornography,” “Irony,” “Utopia”. From the comparisons between masculine and feminine forms, soft and hard touches, attraction and repulsion, she creates a representation of sexuality and eroticism within a social context, beautifully brought together in this book.

The 1976 Tender Touches spread is subversively stunning; two inflated condoms are pressed against each other to create a wonderful abstraction that is both tender and vulnerable. And the cover encapsulates the contents perfectly, an intense surge of shocking pink, wrapped inside an acetate jacket with the plasticity embodying the reoccurring theme of latex.

We love this book for its sheer audacity – few people have made condoms looks so beautiful. Bertlmann’s renegade artworks have us mesmerised from cover to cover.

Renate Bertlmann: Works 1969-2016 is available at Prestel.

–Text by Laura Eldridge