More specifically, the works (re)present female-like figures who, by redefining established gender constructions and breaking binary codes, resist power relations and influence knowledge production. By shedding light on these new representations, the exhibition imagines a world in which these idols can stand up against contemporary knowledge to subvert the narrative.
Originally, the word idol comes from the Latin "idolum", which translates as "image, form" or "the image that takes form", referring to the material representation of a divinity, intended for religious worship. Popular culture appropriated the term to define a person that generates admiration and veneration among their peers. In other words, the idol represents a figure with symbolic and idealistic values – a model that influences individuals’ behaviours, codes of conduct as well as knowledge production.
Living in a Western society that functions under the influence of a hegemonic culture and standard cultural references, we could ask ourselves: what if idols, coming from marginal and underrepresented cultures, could destabilise the establishment of our societal system and open up the spectrum of perspectives? Would those idols succeed in freeing ourselves from the rooted hierarchies of class, gender and race; from our patriarchal society where power is still highly held by male figures; and from the growing impact of globalisation on our social relations and identity?
Through the work of three artists working across multidisciplinary techniques and performance, the exhibition sheds light on the politics of difference in the form of new subversive figures that redefine the narratives surrounding the body, language, culture and history. Swiss artist Maëlle Gross takes us onboard her space vessel into a world with A Sirius Human (2018), where a rebellious woman escapes planet Earth in direction to Sirius, the planet of female energy. Gery Georgieva self-stages herself as the “Rose Queen” in The Blushing Valley (2017) referring both to the traditional Balkan culture and to American pop fantasies. Ceylan Öztrük fights the historical grip of the "male gaze" with Call me Venus (2016) by revisiting the representation of the prehistoric goddess Venus to another type of use... dildos.
As part of zürich moves! festival, Maëlle Gross's performance THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN (2019) will take place on Saturday 13 April 2019. Presented and created at the TU Théâtre de l’Usine in Geneva in January 2019. The piece will be the second representation in Switzerland and the first in Zurich. Experimenting for the first time over 6-hours, the performance features characters that are neither fully human, nor completely female, nor totally cyborg. On their way to planet Sirius, they little by little start forgetting the male-dominated language and adopt new forms of communication and identity inspired by the New Age 2.0. The visitor is invited to take part in this journey, dropping-in and out of the vessel whenever they wished.
More information on the performance: https://www.zurichmoves.com/zm-19-saturday
Curated by Camille Regli.