Photo Credits: Mary-Audrey Ramirez, KILL THEM ALL AND COME BACK ALONE, exhibition view, 2019, MARTINETZ, Cologne Courtesy: the artist and MARTINETZ, Cologne.

Dedication or Hell – there is no other choice; dangers from the depths.

The scorpion sits oversized on the bedspread. With open pincers and an erected sting, between sexual aggression and dominance, she is ready to attack. The potential victim under the covers appears defenceless and subject to animal instinct. White curtains with burn marks on them sweep across the scene as if in a classic horror film setting. It seems to have sprung from a nightmare. Or is the product of a suppressed fantasy. Associations with Henry Fuseli’s The Nightmare (1790), a symbol of black romanticism, inevitably awaken: the nocturnal demon squats gloatingly grinning on the sleeping woman’s body. In an unsettling way, the portrayal plays with the impression of devotional lust on the one hand and with rape on the other.

Conversely, in Mary-Audrey Ramirez’s You know God has his ways (2019) the mare holds a female connotation that corresponds to the scorpion as a sign of the zodiac. In astrology it is described as unapproachable and mystical, it stands for pride, courage and a great deal of strength. While the scorpion is on the move, a ghost made of down jackets is attacked by hummingbirds. In evil birds/crying ghost (2019) supposedly tender creatures become brutal aggressors and What a kiss (2019) shows a mauling battle scene between two leashed Dobermans. Or is it rather a clash of masculine über-virility?
With her fabric sculptures and embroidered pictures, Mary-Audrey Ramirez (*1990 in Luxembourg) creates allegorical pictorial worlds that are as gruesome as they are sexy. The protagonists are animals or hybrid creatures engaged in games of combat or love, where both merge seamlessly into one another. The nylon textile surfaces are glossy, holographic, slimy and dripping, the embroidery sketched and uncensored.

The title KILL THEM ALL AND COME BACK ALONE, as heroic as it is undesirable (Lonesome Rider), is an ode to western kitsch, science fiction and gaming culture. Where else, if not in a game, can gender attributions be dissolved and bodies morphed into each other? The uncanny as the simultaneously unfamiliar and familiar in the Lovecraftian and Freudian sense possesses a productive power here: Mary-Audrey Ramirez’s gloomy visions are emancipatory utopias of a matriarchal world.
Dedication and Hell, Baby.

Miriam Bettin