On entering the Galerie Antje Wachs I am confronted with a series of anthropomorphic stuffed sculptures covered in soft materials placed on the floor. On one of the walls is hung a series of dramatically lit photographs depicting the artist with some of these objects. As I walk further into the gallery the sculptures become more numerous, more puzzling and more disturbing.

The gallery is shaped in a narrow and long rectangle split in two levels by a set of stairs. This seems to be perfectly appropriate to show Clarina Bezzola's work. I feel that there is a narrative to her piece Inside Out and the action of walking through the space resembles a visual journey through her subconscious. As I reach the furthermost end of the gallery I can finally unravel the piece, as a classical concert climaxing all the different parts of the show become coherent and the connection between them is revealed. I am told that during the previous week the artist had made a performance (depicted in the photographs by the entrance) and all the sculptures she had used during it are scattered throughout the gallery space.

She places herself within a huge all-in-one baby suit, which is made out of Claus Oldenburgh-like materials. The suit is filled up with twenty sculptures, also made of similar fabrics, which she takes out one by one during her performance. They represent individual fears which she must shed to rid herself of useless neurosis and worries. They are all reminiscent of internal organs but none are exactly descriptive of real ones. They seem closer to what could be conjured up by a child trying to depict the human body who has been brought up on too much 'itchy and scratchy' cartoons.

Humorous and unsettling, they play a game of push and pull as I am caught in-between attraction and repulsion towards them. They are enticing in their use of bright colours, lush and tactile materials, strange and unusual shapes. An inventive placing of buttons, threads, zips and felt cleverly depict what seems to be lungs, innards, mouths, limbs and penises, leaving the eye wanting to perceive more details of their making. However, whilst I linger eager to see more, I am at the same time highly repelled. These objects seem to be born out of the artist's hallucinogenic nightmares, a cloning experiment gone terribly wrong, a feminine Frankenstein whos body has not yet been sown together. They violently penetrate each other and themselves, are cut to reveal visceral openings, have cancerogenous bulges and attachments. By not being too descriptive they succeed in triggering disturbing associations and emotions. Open to individual readings they let each viewer enter Bezzola's world and fill it with his own personal responses.

The loaded meaning behind each object dispels the initial fear I had on entering the gallery over the use of such over-stated materials and leaves me wishing that I had witnessed the performance. On leaving the gallery I make a mental note not to miss any future performance by Clarina Bezzola especially if it involves another trip to Berlin and to the wonderful Galerie Antje Wachs.

Gaia Persico

 

 

Courtesy Galerie Antje Wachs and the artist.

© images Clarina Bezzoli

Galerie Antje Wachs, 5 Gips Street, 10119 Berlin, Germany, +49-3-/24045781