“Tired or hungover is the best state to look at art” is what my friend and former professor Andrew always said, or „nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses, except the intellect itself“ as did Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
In one or maybe both of these weary states, I was entering Marianne Vlaschits’ exhibition at Suzie Shride.
Dozing off, I have been remembering these otherworldly scenes, and now my worn-out fingers are typing this text. Tired to the bones, because one project hunts the other, the bank account never really hits the required amount, and the little fires everywhere just turned into a blazing globe aflame. You know the drill.
No wonder Suzie Shride. Shride said out loud sounds like the German “schreit” pronounced with an English accent, which translated back into English means „Suzie screams“. Sabine Stastny, who opened the artist-run gallery in March 2019 in Vienna after spending several years in megacities like Berlin, London and L.A. – cities, whose deadly serious acceleration game, I am sure, will make those, who still have some spare energy for rage, want to scream at times, otherwise they just leave you tired, tired, tired. Surrounded by the ghosts of a former brothel in Vienna’s Girardigasse, – Vienna the city where the clock still ticks a bit slower than everywhere else – this place seems to be the perfect refuge for rebelling Suzie Shride.
I enter, Sabine shakes my hand and flutters off immediately. Left alone, The Hypnotic Spell, how Marianne Vlaschits named her exhibition, is indeed what overcomes me, my screen-inflamed eyes blinking and focusing the canvas on the single irregular shaped wood frames that are distributed like islands in the pleasantly homely white timber-framed space of Suzie’s. Coming to rest for the first time since I woke up that day, like Alice in Wonderland, I fall, fall, fall. Through the cosmonautic figures, hitting their curved droopy anti-geometric forms, down, down, down, right through Vlaschits dimly colored spaces, like the figures themselves, passing by nebulous stardust, deep dark moons and hoovering objects that bear a likeness to severed penises and testicles. The figures seem like voluptuous goddesses, each inhabiting one of the canvases ruling over their own galaxy, hinting to a surreal dreamlike idea of a fateful future, not unlike the cover images of tarot cards.
The convoluted organic forms Vlaschits creates, seem swinging, anti-static, highly dynamic. The single components of these alien Cassandra-characters appear as caught up in a balancing act, like the crew of a ship that tries to correct its list. Reminiscent of the padded and pregnant shapes used by Louise Bourgeois the hybrid creatures - parts animals, part cosmic matter, slightly human - don’t seem to have overcome gender, rather they are keenly juggling gendered body parts, overwriting their charged worldly meaning.
My body is heavy and my eyelids saggy. Passersby peeking through the window would have observed a staring, apathetic, mouth opened girl with hanging shoulders staring at a painting. Indisputable half-asleep strikes me as the better state than cruising reality, a reality that ran out of utopias and has barely any silver linings left, or than dwelling in dreams that have turned into nightmares. Is it in this crack, in this space down the rabbit hole, that Vlaschits fills with her red green blue visions that still bears a sense of futurity?
The whole series of paintings is based on a quote by Isidore Lucien Ducasse aka Comte de Lautréamont. A dark-hearted, almost forgotten contemporary of Arthur Rimbaud, who died barely having lived and who attested his era, the era of rising industrialization, the promise of enlightenment and wealth, to be rotten to the core.
„[…]The hypnotic spell that has weighed upon your cerebrospinal system for ten years of nights is lifted.’ He awakens as has been commanded and sees two celestial shapes disappearing into the air, arms interlaced. He does not attempt to sleep again. [..] He contemplates the moon, which pours down upon his breast a cone of ecstatic beams in which silver atoms of ineffable sweetness flutter like moths. He waits until the morning twilight shall bring, by a change of scene, a mocking relief to his prostrated heart.“
Not asleep, a new future will be imagined, not in the dream, but in the dream of sleep, the dream of dreaming. Double detachment will carry us to places of connectedness, places where we melt our selves and loosen the ties of social order, where the expected was never known. The Dream is the realm of chaos, coincidence, and the mystic, the wild, the realm of cyborgs, and synthesis, of hybrids, it’s the bodiless matrix. Imagining is the socialization of dreaming. Doing the impossible in dancing in this in-between space, like Alice, while falling down, down, dozing, thinking of what was home, the present, and what will be at the end of the well, we might still have a chance to build something while we fall. That’s why we bite our teeth at night - waiting for dawn, a change of scene, a mocking relief to our prostrated hearts.
Finissage 25.07. 7-10pm Girardigasse 10/8