Nov 12 – Dec 10, 2016
Adelhyd van Bender, Lina Hermsdorf, Amy Yao
Curator: Fanny Gonella
Passiflora flowers grow in tropical and mildly warm regions, mostly in South America. The name was coined by Christian missionaries who found similarities between its form and the symbols of the passion of the Christ – its petals reminded them of the crown of thorns, among others. Meanwhile, the seeds have circulated and the flowers are growing under mild climates within Europe. Beyond its formal link with elements from the passion of the Christ, passiflora possesses medical properties such as sedative ones and can also cause uterine stimulation. This information is not accessible by looking at the flower, just like the narratives related to passiflora have faded today and do not come to mind anymore when we look at them.
We might now appreciate these flowers for their color, form or structure, yet their capacity goes beyond seductiveness. They intertwine decorative qualities with medical knowledge and a narrative context, although without direct correlation between these. The disruption between visual appearance and biological specificities they unfold underlays equally the works presented in the exhibition. These play with the discrepancy between the surface or interface they expose and the biological or technological system they refer to, leading to a fragmented approach of their content. The works are committed to an opacity that hints at potentials and threats, which are not directly palpable. Not unlike a vanitas still life, they operate along the lines of decay and maintenance, destruction and persistence.
Adelhyd van Bender (1950-2014) spent the last years of his life working on drawings that display a systematic repetition of symbols, often from chemical origin, excerpts from administrative documents, specific geometrical forms and words. He aimed at recording and conserving there the formula related to nuclear power that was contained in the uterus he assumed to carry in his body.
Lina Hermsdorf (*1985) plays with rhetorical strategies and modes of narration, engaging with characteristics of living organisms as systems that receive, store, exchange energy and information. Her work unfolds narrative threads that explore the way power structures, technology and biological structures affect each other to shape our emotional surrounding.
Amy Yao (*1977) deals with objects, colors and words to explore the materialization of circulatory fluxes – of information, people, substances or goods. Artificial and natural forms cannot be taken apart nor understood without with each other in her work, offering a reflection on certain dynamics that, behind a politically correct agency, collide with issues of social hierarchies and segregation.
The show gathers three different approaches towards power games at play in the manufacturing of our subjectivity – i.e. our relationship to ourselves. It meanders along political and economical influences that shape the communal emotional space we’re navigating through.