My involvement with the issue of the physical impossibility of women was triggered by my personal experience of womanhood. I grew up in a society where the woman experience is still determined by how a woman looks and behaves (she acts like a woman should), in the frameworks of orthodox patriarchy. Under this frame, the multitude of options for womanhood are rather stigmatized than accepted.  At the same time, I was also facing the world of infinite proliferation of images unfolding in front of me, projecting images of women which looked at the same time liberated and constrained. Liberated from orthodox patriarchy patterns of behavior, but constrained in the cast models of an aspirational culture.

Moving to Vienna to continue my studies in 2011 was when I first encountered contemporary critical thinking in an academic form, and terms like heteronormativity and gender construction entered my vocabulary. However, in this context I found myself at an awkward place. My existence, based on the kind of femininity I embodied was becoming to be rendered obsolete. I felt it would be impossible to keep this embodiment and at the same time be a producer in the contemporary artistic field. But, then again, giving up a role means taking up another, so choose to keep myself as I was, and choose a different strategy.

The paintings show me excelling in my role. In them, I take a position of high recognizability, of a gendered female body, caught in the net of social media’s narcissism and inauthenticity. How the works are produced: once I decided I will work with my self-image, I reached out to the pool of uploaded ‘selfies’. I printed a selection of them on paper and then transferred it onto canvas (using transfer paper for the outlines).  As a loop step, I then ‘uploaded’ them as oil paintings on the mirrored installation-shelve.

In this respect I see my work as having three layers. First layer, consists of me as a person-woman-human being, preoccupied with my image as such, interrogating that image, trying to make a sense out of it- a sense of me/the world/us. In this layer I would also situate the phone selfies as well as the mirror reflection self. The middle layer is represented by the oil paintings. Then, at the top layer I would put you, the viewer of my paintings. Now, perceived like this, the middle layer that of the paintings could be seen as a passage layer, the <<screen>> where physical interaction occurs and models of subjectivity are questioned. The identity search also prevalent in the work, could then be answered with the assumption that it is found not in the painterly representation, nor in the photographic-mirrored representation, not even in myself as such, but in the translation from one medium to another. It is in this process of translation that the question of performativity occurs.

The way I installed the paintings mirrors a decomposed kaleidoscope. The interior of it has been disassembled, so that now the paintings are reclining on the three mirror shelves. The illusion a kaleidoscope entails, of having endless possibilities of images based actually on the same objects rotating themselves, can be transcribed onto the whole selfie culture: it is the same object repeating itself endlessly under the illusion of it being something new with each ‘upload’.

The shifting models of subjectivity I explore with my self-representation, where issues of aesthetic are not esoteric or limited exclusively to art history, but connected to political questions of meaning and cultural value (I refer of course to  a westernized context) in the pharmacopornographic era, bring me then closer to my hypotheses of a deconstructed reality of womanhood through performativity. Braking the myth of women as nature: “femininity, far from being nature, is the quality of the Orgasmic Force when it can be converted into merchandise, into work” (Preciado).

In over exposing myself by ways of painterly representation(s), filled with narcissism, sexuality, asexuality, death, life, beauty and monstrosity, to name just a few, I bring representation to a point where it becomes pointless and starts to break, making a parallel to what my appropriated title suggests, the physical impossibility of women in the world of someone living. If every description of women is denounced as male cliché, it becomes impossible to answer the question of what is then feminine in itself, since all answers can again be discredited as male clichés (Slavoj Zizek). If women are not supposed to be sexualized (2nd wave feminism), how are they to enjoy themselves sexually? Isn’t it a better approach to declare women owner of their bodies, and free their choices on what they can do with it (3rd wave feminism).  Post yourself naked online as a tool of empowerment. Isn’t it a better approach to stop looking for ways of hiding from the surveillance mechanisms, and instead overload the system, making it brake? Can over representation lead to withdrawal from representation? There are no simple answers for this question, I know. That’s why, in order to try and dig into the complexity of today’s world, I divided my title into 6 chapters which will offer a more detailed view (a sketch is included below, and a longer text is made available as well).

To conclude, I would like to refer to a term coined by Laura V. Marks which I would like to be kept in mind when reading my work: haptic visuality. Contrasting to the Mulveyan notion of the male gaze, where the subject is attempting to resuscitate his wholeness threatened by the fear of loss, “haptic visuality implies the acknowledgment of the inevitability of castration/death. Haptic visuality celebrates the immersion of the subject into the object via desire (…), what is erotic about haptic visuality, then, may be described as a respect of difference, and concomitant loss of self, in the presence of the other … {a} giving-over to the other.” (Marks, Skin of the Film).

Guidelines on how to use the installation

#you can take the paintings in your hands, closely look at them, put them in another place on the shelves – you can change the order of the paintings on the shelves