At the beginning, our body is enclosed within another body. A first sensation, to feel and be felt, to grasp and to understand. Already enveloped in society, religion and culture, half protective, half overbearing, half possessive, determining. Soon – after months of a fleshly space flight – the naked body, wholly in the world experiencing an attribution of gender, is integrated into a system, encased and concealed in pink and blue clothes. Just a mother’s child, already the child of a powerful structure, seized by the State, the fruit of any God. That should be the new origin. For sure.
Art, not for the production of cultural artefacts, but as a process of defining one’s own being and relationship to others. That is at least one possibility, about which Sophia Süßmilch speaks in her work. Performance, painting, photography and film outline their own place, open up their own game, report on their own implicitness, their own self-conception, against unwanted appropriation and oppressive assault. Freedom.
An archaic ritual and a game, a laughter provocative in its cheerfulness, contrary to the seriousness of the situation. The body, a well guarded secret and one to be safeguarded, disclosed to all. Arms, legs, head, breasts and vagina – the astronaut and her mothership. Photographic representation to one another and to us. The real body mocks the ideal, wherein beauty is not a normative thing, but a flexible perception. Where you are and were, I can and could be.
Are Sophia Süßmilch’s photographs and actions extremely forthright, confrontational and direct, then her painting opens up an enigmatic cosmos. The beings that inhabit the bluish spheres are largely detached from the human form. The body can become a baguette, a loaf of bread, in which nurturing breasts and teats provide and express vitality and strength. Simultaneously under raining clouds and deep under water. The titles are an open mixture of innocence and irony, with many clear references to a belief full of striving for the absolute, in the shadow of experienced hypocrisy. The handmaiden should submit when we call her bargain queen, pillar of society. Is this external world really as secular as it appears to us?
The processes of transformation are complex and penetrate layers and times. The structure of ownership has not yet been settled. Body, soul and spirit could be reclaimed within one’s own life span. The reception of an outbreak of the established conditions does not have to be exhausted again in proven procedures of classification. Individual mythologies, feminism or action art offer a historical context, but also tempt us to turn away from the ‘now’. Sophia Süßmilch illustrates how reality arises from the truth of one’s own body. The value of things and beings is born of itself and yet is still the filiation of this primal experience of being ‘one’ and then ‘two’. She says: I am here. despite it! Or because of it?