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.
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'
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.