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Man : Woman 

1997 - 2001

Lucca, Vienna, Salzburg, Labin, Milan

Sichtweise - Weisse Sicht

Controritmo - Counterrhythm

“Male or female is the first differentiation that you make when you encounter another human being, and you are accustomed to making this differentiation with unhesitating surety.” (Sigmund Freud: “Femininity”)

 

“You are what you wear. In that it establishes the social character mask, clothing transforms thinking, behavior and gender.”(Camille Paglia: "Sexual Personae")

 

WOMAN : MAN is an exploration of the images, opinions, memories, resentments and cliches that man and woman link to one another like slogans or use to separate themselves from one another: from “lipstick” to “menstruation”, from “feeling” to “logic”, from “power” to “powerlessness”.

 

The project’s first phase consisted of interviews conducted with approximately one hundred people. The interviewees, ca. fifty women and fifty men, were asked to name ten words or concepts that they felt were characteristic of the other sex. Then they were asked to do the same for their own sex

 

The installation ILLIMITE (an artificial word combining the Italian words il limite, meaning the limit, and illimitato, meaning limitless) is an exploration of the entirety of the material researched in terms of both content and form– the creation of relationships, the construction of contradictions and paradoxes, the reflection of commonalities and divergences. Assiduously taking the statements at face value, the verbal associations garnered from the interview context are (re)construed in a transparent three-dimensionality. The outer surfaces of the words from the interviews are visualized in bilingual script bars assembled into large frames. From the remembered images and imagined cliches, a cage-like parallelepiped built out of these “empty” frames leads through the word first spoken and then made visible in writing to new images overlaying those which were originally seen and thought.

The installation SICHTWEISE – WEISSE SICHT (a pun in German meaning quasi “Way of Seeing, Seeing White”) consists of a series of eyeglasses in various forms and sizes, all of which are painted gleaming white. On their lenses, which have been made opaque by the paint, key words from the interviews are visualized.

 

Taking as my point of departure Judith Butler’s much-discussed thesis that femininity and masculinity are not given facts of “nature” but rather socially, semantically, geopolitically and temporally conditioned positions that can/must continually be interpreted anew, I attempt in this work to depict the ways of seeing reality that lead to the everyday assumptions attached to the labels man and woman

 

The installation COUNTERRHYTHM originated in connection with Lorenzo da Ponte’s Don Giovanni. All of the sentences found in this work containing the word heart (cuore / core) are filtered out and mounted on a garden hose painted white, which thus becomes a “speaking tube”.“The concept heart, isolated on the body of the hose, marks the center of activity. Heartbeat, pulse and emotions are equivalent to the emergence of the subject, and yet they are only projections of an escape fantasy from a rule system of identity-making functions and mechanisms.”  (Renate Höllwart)