12:00 - 18:00
8 March–19 May 2019
Opening Friday 8 March 7-9pm
Botticelli’s ”La Primavera” could be described as a sort of spring sonata. A composition in three acts starting off to the right of the painting with Zephyrus, the biting wind of March, depicted as a young man just about to violate the female nymph Chloris who in panic throws up a string of flowers. He then proceeds by marrying her, thus transforming the nymph into a deity; Flora, the goddess of Spring and eternal bearer of life.
The depiction of the female body throughout various epochs and philosophical traditions in western (art) history – the Middle Ages, Neoplatonism, Neoclassicism, the Pre-Raphaelite movement and so on – constitutes the spinal core in the body of work entitled ”Dark Spring”. Snapshots from past eras are reworked, juxtaposed and brought into a contemporary setting blurring the boundaries of time. These pictorial details composed through painting, drawing and sculptural installation are accompanied by additional elements from the realm of medicine, religion and textile history creating a unity that reflects the various ideals that have been engraved deep into the female skin.
Velvet and organza hold the images, like the skin that protects our body and holds it together. Velvet, a symbol of status in fashion and religion. The young female skin, smooth as velvet in classical painting. The transparency of organza allows for shadows to appear, a see-through quality. Much employed for underskirts and dresses.
Colour pigments from medicinal plants are sourced from the extensive writings of Trota of Salerno, a medical practitioner from the early 12th century. She specialised in women’s medicine. Bed linen with embroidered initials from previous generations of women have been coloured with madder whose red pigment dyed among other things the trousers of the French Army. Strong female poses are borrowed from another colleague in time, Artemisia Gentileschi. They are active gestures of protest and resistance.
”Dark Spring” is an endeavour that puts gender and language, time and geography, society and politics side by side. It blends the personal history with the historical course of events and points out an oppression that sometimes is expressed through brutal and bloody violence, and other times lies in the good-tempered irony of enlightened men who play it down and reduce it.
So, what can we learn from this? That profound change must be an unwavering collective act.