May 25, 2009

My inspiration

May 9 @ Italian Restaurant
, Vienna

Today I spent six hours at two different museums. Two hours at the Kunsthalle, where the name of the exhibit definitely caught my attention. "Porn Identity" -porn as an art (?) concept or something approximate. To be looking at porn, of all sorts, at an art gallery, was quite an experience. I always thought this is something you watch alone or with your partner to get "in the mood". But to watch anal sex on a big screen, or videos from a hidden camera in a public toilet, where guys go to fuck each other... well, I'm not sure about it. It was definitely interesting. But I couldn't help but feel uncomfortable if a man was around, watching the same installation than me.

*I found an interesting article about this exhibition, you can read it at:,1,4208246.story.*

The one piece I found quite original and inspiring was an installation titled "Dolores" (por Katrina Daschner) The space is divided into rooms, not by walls but by markings on the floor, simulation an architectonic plan. It took me some time to figure this out and to understand that you are supposed to enter the rooms in order, to understand the story. The interesting thing about this, is that it was an experiential installation, as you could break the narrative and enter whichever room you please. Floor Plan as follows:

Room #1:
Introduction of characters. Three television sets, with headphones. Each TV shows the three women involved in the story: Dolores, a 17 year old girl who had lost her father in a car accident at age 4 and who is dating the woman in TV #2. She's a 40 something year old artist "with beautiful breasts" -as Dolores describes her. TV#3 depicts Dolores mom, getting dressed and getting ready to leave the house. All three intros are narrated by Dolores and each loop begins exactly when the previous one ends, which means you can transition from one TV to the other with the sense of continuity.

Room #2:
A series of photos of the mother, as she goes out to the street and gets hit by a car.

Room #3:
Dolores and her girlfriend on a car. You see the internal dialogue of each character as a subtitle. Music is being played but the characters remain silent. The subtitles are coloured differently for each woman. The music -in Spanish- is quite touching.

Room #4:
Two photographs. A set of headphones for each of them. You hear a version from each character about what happened after the car ride.

Room #5:
A dialogue between Dolores girlfriend and her husband is written on the floor, inside the room plan.

Room #6:
Facing each other, two TV sets. One portrays Dolores being intimate with another woman. The other, installed on a door, portrays her girlfriend's head looking at them with her eyes tearing up.

I really liked this work and it gave me some ideas for my Thesis. But I have too many ideas now... however, it could be regarded as future work. Everything I've seen so far, has stayed with me one way or the other...

After two hours at the Porn exhibit, feeling a bit too horny, I made my way to MUMOK -the Museum of Modern Art. In the first floor there was a full exhibit of Nam June Paik, whom I've been studying for the last three years. That was extraordinary, of course... but the best was yet to come...

Maria Lassnig, born in Austria in 1919. She reminded me of my grandmother and myself. Yes, it sounds as strange as it is to explain it. But I did feel deeply identified with this amazing woman. Her works touched me deeply, specially her animated autobiographies. Painting one frame at a time, she made a series of animations which were installed at the museum. "Kantate" and "Self-portrait" were direct references to her life and thoughts and it felt so good to know that my feelings are thoughts were shared with an artist of this caliber. I left the museum feeling that I indeed was on the right path, even when compared to the rest of the world, feels so wrong at times. I am convinced now, more than ever, that I am an ARTIST, even when the word alone seems to be so heavy when pronounced. But it's true. I understand why I think the way I do, why I seem to always be swimming upstream like the salmon, only to get to the other side and die. Then I'm reborn in all the eggs laid along my path. It's the never ending cycle of life. As an artist I'm constantly recycling what I see, hear or feel, by making those into art. I'm not good at relationships, cause that would take time off my work, cause artists need to be very generous and extremely selfish. I still need to learn how to be selfish... but it's a good thing... I'm slowly learning to truly take care of my needs first. Her painting above PERFECTLY describes what I'm saying. It's called "Dich oder Mich" -You or Me-

I am an artist, even when it hurts so much... and I thank my grandmother for this gift. I thought of her so much while at the museum, both because Lassnig is now an elder woman (still painting) and because I made my very first painting next to her and under her kind "instructions". She also took me to more museums and art galleries than no one ever did. I admire and respect my grandmother Clara -her name actually means "clear" or "light" as "someone being..."- in a way that is inspiring on it's own. I just wish I had her here to visit museums with her. GRACIAS ABUE POR HACERME QUIEN SOY, UNA VERDADERA ARTISTA... AUNQUE EL MUNDO ENTERO NO LO ENTIENDA, VOS Y TODOS LOS ARTISTAS EN EL MUNDO COMPARTEN MI SENTIR. QUE HARIA SIN EL ARTE? As Picasso said "Art is the lie that make us realize the Truth..."

Relationships, material goods and dedicating my life to taking care of a house and raising a family doesn't seem to have any appeal on my life. I always wondered why, but now I know for sure. Even when it gets lonely, I know there's a bigger purpose, or better said, a different purpose for me than these. Making art, expressing what many feel but ONLY a few can tell. "Loving all mankind, even when they let me down" -as Lassnig would say. Forgetting yourself and expressing life beyond your body through a painting, a photograph or an animated drawing...

So I give up relationships. I do. Now sex, that I can't give up. It makes me feel good. Something opens inside me and the release of energy changes each time. It's like a ritual. No, I won't give up sex but I do wonder how much time and energy, and the gift I have, I waste thinking about sex and men. The things I could do if I dedicated the same amount of time I do thinking "insignificant" things, or obsessing over trivialities, to creating. The day I'm able to put these words into actions, that day I would have taken the biggest step.

Something called me here. It was necessary for me to come to Europe, to Germany, to detach from my mother, to suffer because of doing so, to need to escape, to come to Vienna, to see a poster of "Dich oder Mich" on a street lamp, take a picture of it to remember, to find the museum, see Lassnig's exhibition, to realize who I am, more than ever before. Life is a constant chain reaction, cause and effect. You turn a corner and all of a sudden you are facing your destiny. But how did you get to that corner?

So thank you mom... for driving me crazy. If it wasn't because of you, I would have not gone to Vienna at the right time. Well, it's always the right time... I forgive you...

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