In Marianne Vlaschits’ current installation “A Body That Lasts”, we encounter an exhibition setting consisting of three opulent body constructions that become carriers of single works. The round shapes with their indicated limbs refer to bodies of human origin, but they are apparently beings from another time and dimension. Like spaceships that have laboriously landed on earth and are now in a state of hibernation, these beings tell stories about their existence based on the images on their bodies. They show us pictures of other planets with amorphous vegetation and several moons, of living creatures entwined with each other, like future symbionts united into a collective form with their environment. These now resting beings traveled through portals that appear as human orifices or the ovaries of plants.

“Maybe, but only maybe, and only with intense commitment and collaborative work and play with other terrans, flourishing for rich multispecies assemblages that include people will be possible. I am calling all this the Chthulucene – past, present, and to come.” Donna Haraway depicts the dawning age, which should be a possible way out in the near future. Only in the sympoiesis - in the interaction of several life forms - the new cooperative system is conceivable in the age of the Chtulucene. A system not aiming at the particular advantage of a species, but rather on survival across species in general.

It could be that the sleeping beings derive from the oracle of the Neolithic hypogeum, in which tiny figures of sleeping and full-bodied women were found. The underground, three-story cave labyrinth on Malta consists of 23 small temples, with the oracle chamber and the lowest temple forming the center. The walls are decorated with ocher-colored paintings depicting winding tendril patterns, discs, hexagons and spirals. It is still unclear for what exactly this place was used for, but it is believed that the sleeping beings are represented in a kind of spiritual transformation phase.

One would like to believe that Marianne Vlaschits sleeping creatures tell of a future that lies ahead. However, the state of their rest not only indicates a phase of recovery from a journey that has already been made, but also the next departure into unknown worlds. They are in an intermediate stage between what has already been there and what has not been told yet. In their state of constant indolence, they report on the world of imagination and on an utopia of a present. Both at the very same time.

Text: Karolina Radenkovic

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Photos: Rainer Iglar