„The perfect woman is a higher type of human than the perfect man, and also something much more rare.“ / Friedrich Nietzsche
Referring to Nitzsche´s quote „Human, all too Human“ the curator Andreea Foanene in cooperation with Meta Spatiu/Mirela Stoeac-Vlăduți invited an amazing selection of contemporary artists focusing Balkan and Eastern Europe and some co curators to develop a show with a new location and a new concept as a relaunch of Baroque Urban in its third year.
The title has an ironically wink implemented, cause non of the participating artists is dealing with the so called female medias in a female way. (Whatever it should mean, cause I never charged art about the sexus, more about the impetus and approach.)
Andreea Foanene has matched glamorous idols of contemporary art scene like Mariana Abramović with local heroes like Victoria Zidaru and Ada Muntean, upcoming ones like Jelena Micić, Agnes Varnai and Eva Maria Schartmüller, performers like Olga Török, Emilia Jagića and Anikö Kiss.
Furious Zeus divided the human in two genders – and all the trouble started. What means we have been one in the past. I believe that most of us are hiding both elements. Each of us has different strengths, skills, weaknesses, abilities and needs without categorizing in female or male. But both part of one human, though both human. On the basis and name of human rights values there should not be any difference at all. Unbelievable but true, we are still talking about discrimination and clicked thinking about woman in the 21. century. I never imagined that we will be still debating about women rights and equal treatment.
Sometimes a single letter can change the sex, Denis, male (my birth certificate) or Denise, female (my passport). Though in reality we receive a social branding short after being born. Starting with pink for the girls and blue for the boys, sexual apartheid, only two gender, urged to follow the agenda of our sexus. If you have been glad in
Western European World in the 70s/80s your parents did not care about putting you in a box full of cliché. Today we even accept surprise eggs for girls!!! There was another story about a couple under an apple tree. She curious, innovativ, disobedient, he frightened and not able to move. In Eastern European Social/Communist Dictatorships, like former Yugoslavia, Romania, UDSSR, men and women had been more equal in their rights than in the times after the political social collapse. Even if daily homework, child raising and food organization was mostly done by women, beneath their work. After having been freed from communist dictatorship the superficial sameness has vanished, a new Machismo arises.
In Western European countries the call to send women back to kitchen or part time jobs is increasing parallel to the political change from social/left to right wing propaganda. A good example for developments like that is going on in Austria after installing the new autocratic government. Financial support for Women’s Aid organizations as well as all gender, homosexual, HIV support and education are cut in 2018. Even more the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, herself female, announced in her forecast a further cut for women NPO´s in 2019.
What is going on?
Too Woman?
Too Man?
Too Human?
What kind of categories we are talking of? What can be too woman/ man/human?
Let us talk about art! The interaction of diverse art positions visualize the wide range of so called female art. Though artists like Mariana Abramović would get her shirt out if I would call her l´heuvre as a typically female position. During her period with Ulay (1976-1988) they were presenting the two opposite poles of human, starting at a point before struggle between the genders began. Finally also these genius couple did not manage it, an human error. They mainly explored physical and psychological boundaries beside the gender role allocation. In 1975, the artists described their project as follows: “Vital art, no permanent residence, permanent movement, direct contact, local reference, self-selection, border crossing, risk-taking, moving energy, no rehearsal, no predicted end, no repetition.” Abramović and Ulay blurred the line between art and life, not infrequently embracing her artistic concept of exposing their selves to real dangers.
After splitting Abramović pushed her own agenda and finally she became the most important performer of contemporary art. Her solo projects went deeper in the exploration of relationship betweenperformer and visitor, the highlight of her carrier was „The Artist is Present“ at MOMA N.Y.. The intimate encounter between the artist and the audience, even in a public space, became a symbol of passivity and vulnerability, which Abramović is always forcing on to the very brink of their both existence.
Victoria Zidaru is a strong local position, working with natural materials like a schaman, in her approach very near to some of Abramovic projects, but even more archaic. Her installations are influencing all senses and evoke memories through the olfactory stimuli. In this wide parenthesis more artists spread their ideas and aspects of the topic in multimedial expressions.
„Awakening“ Drawing – Performance by Emilia Jagića and Anikö Kiss is the result of a meeting between a visual artist and an actor and dancer. It is unique as a performance, because it is a shared, intercorporeal and inter-genre, polymorphous and dynamic, intermixture of ‘proto-bodies’, animate body parts, graphic acts evocative of Empedocles’ cosmogony and Camus’ insight into the myth of Sisyphus. The two artist´s basic mode of work is a combination of mutual incitement and affront that strips their bodies and movements of their everyday meaning. It contextualizes itself in its own visual traces and leads, through trial and error, to the co-creation of a scenography slowly unraveling a plot of facing and revolt. Rearing against the senselessness of the traditional categories of human life. The activities of both of these artists associate with today’s mankind; their constant need to aspire, their necessity to work; the monotonous, mechanical exercise of life; while at the same time it reveals the key to gaining a sense of life, which may be found through creativity, through child-like (sincere) joy and through the experience of a new insight. The arising drawings by Emilia Jagića are expressive and powerful. One special strength in her work is that it takes into account a variety of social relevant themes and heightens awareness of existing, while Anikö Kiss transforms these topics in movement and gesture.
Jelena Micić´s Anecumena / In-Situ Installation, is the result of a several month long collecting process. The material is a porous industrial net in different colors, defined for a specific amount of fruits or vegetables. The special texture is playfully covered with spatial paintings in form of translucent colored curtains. Micić is obsessed by colors, her works explore the various use of them. Anecumena oscillates between architecture, installation and painting cause she is always adjusting her work to the dimension of the space. Though it is also a limitation of view, a border. Interpretations in direction of sociopolitical objectives are as well in the context as the thematization of ready-made and waste of plastic in our daily procedure.
Species-appropriate is the subtitle of the installation „Lost Authenticity“ by Eva Maria Schartmüller. Kind of good subtitle for the whole exhibition. Hair has a great social significance for human beings and in art. A baldy head can be a sign of mourning, of Religion, of illness, of freedom, of military and it ain´t easy to decode true significance at first sight. The photo series of a baldy female head combined with an installation of felted human hair. Loss of hair may be a loss of dignity, an extinction of personality. The history of hair is diverse and not only sexual connoted.
Agnes Varnai collaborated with László feLugossy, the cult artist of the 80s, in May 2018, and took footage out of the documentation. „End of the world“ was the title of the performance as well as of the Dadaist poem of Lugossy, wich is a mythical space, outside of everything, detached of every system. Agnes Varnai and László feLugossy walk into this zone during their performance. They are splitting, one of them stays in the realm of slurred time and struggles with obsessive self destruction, annihilation and madness. The other character remains untouched by any experience focused on collecting material. Varnai´s approach is to match technical possibilities with futuristic ideas, though always connected with the current crisis situation, she appropriates the wide field between utopia and dystopia.
Acceptance comes when we embrace our own selves and demand it. I believe that society won’t change until we make it. It is Time for a Change.
Text by: Denise Parizek, 2018
Foto: Dana Moica