For her fourth solo exhibition in New York and her second with Nohra Haime Gallery, Adriana Marmorek presents us with the clues for deciphering the enigmas of love, sexuality and desire. Her decades long enquiry into what she herself has called the “architecture of desire” began with questions around media and how the female body is wielded as a sexualized marketing tool. This path led her to then wonder about love and loss, which in turn led to her current investigation into the nature of love and how we have come to loose its proximity to the spiritual, the sublime, and the highly mysterious.
Marmorek’s search has transformed her into a researcher, an avid reader of post-modern philosophy and poetry, a seeker of meanings concealed behind layers of paint in classical works of art. Her serendipitous encounter with Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights led her to produce a powerfully poetic piece, Anima, which reinterprets the relationship she found between Bosch’s tranquil and protected couple encased in a glass bubble. That piece was the namesake of a solo exhibition she presented in 2013, but the wonderment that it provoked never left her.
In Flower to Bee, Marmorek bravely tries to unlock one of the many shielded mysteries of Bosch’s Garden, and she does so by taking the varied flora and fauna of his triptych outside the landscape and into the gallery space. She offers her viewer a path of discovery into their own interpretation both of what the Garden’s message on love is, and their own notion of what it has been for them. Her courage lies in facing the many mysteries concealed behind layers of paint and meaning of a masterpiece that is still far from being resolved, and in doing so at a time when our societal definitions of love, gender, connection and marriage are in a state of complete flux. She is therefore establishing dialogue between two mysteries: with the Garden itself, and with our collective understanding of how we come to relate to each other amorously and physically, when the rules we held to as a society have crumbled in their own exclusion of others, and are yet to be built again. She does so with the knowledge that this is an ever-changing scenario where what we hold to be true today might not be so anymore in the future.
The works in this exhibition were delicately crafted with five Colombian artisans whose techniques were on the verge of vanishing. They can be many things at once: they can be immensely beautiful and dark, they can be poetic and broken, they can exist in the liminal space between animal and vegetal, in the boundary between installation and two-dimensional works, between technology and the trace the human hand leaves on the material.
This exhibition is a lush, diversely populated garden that, despite this very fullness, is a tabula rasa upon which each viewer is able to write their own notion of love, desire, and above all, their experience in how love has brought them closer – even if just for a moment – to infinity.