The title of this exhibition refers to »Rites de Passage« of Arnold van Gennep: rites that celebrate and manifest the transition between stages in life as well as from social conditions to another. In the works on view, the artist’s body as a projection surface for expectations, desires or fears often forms a point of reflection.
A transparent tent is like a transparent body: both associate the idea of an interior, they create a membrane between public and private, but expose this interior to the public gaze without protection. How can the »private« be rethought in a period of physical distancing but almost unlimited virtual public presence? How does the fragility of our body in terms of viruses relate to our self-perception and -image the inside of our body has become a public topic.
One of those creatures that surrender to the gaze is the transparent Medusa. The outer layer of the jellyfish’s body could be understood as a display, which allows to see through: a condition which is very different from the disconnected perception of a human’s appearance and its undiscovered inside. In case of the jellyfish the parameters inside and outside, which are often linked with invisible and visible, private and public, seem misleading here. How are these terms to be thought of for our present, in which the private is capitalised, the intimate is exhibited? What does it mean to turn the inside out, to make oneself’s skin transparent? Does every act of image production and self-representation renegotiate the boundary between inside and outside, private and public? Is our virtual presence and exposure accompanied by a loss of protection, security and a feeling of being at the mercy of others, or can this crossing of boundaries create radical freedom or transmit authenticity? Some of the works on view seem to connect to those questions, to a non-binary approach to the public and the private, they create hybrids of veiling and displaying, seem to address the human physicality as a matter, a medium not so far from other media to transform, create and exhibit.
How can contemporary art and its discourse nourish the current search for a new way of perceiving our body in relation to society and to reflect on the political dimensions of our health? Against the backdrop of the pandemic, urging societal discourses and movements emerge, such as the empowerment of anti-racist, postcolonial perspectives, a new global feminism and the fight against gender violence and for LGBTQI+ rights. We invite the visitors to reflect on the politics of presence, which our body in relation to society – real and virtual – carries and to explore a changing understanding of and relationship to physicality.
(Text is short exhibition intro)