Unstill life

ART ESSAY

Exquisite Corpse.

Words by & artwork by Magenta


This project explores the relationship between beauty, death, and revolt. It attempts to reveal life as an artistic phenomenon. More specifically, we explore how unstill still life really is and the limits of disintegration. Although we tend to think about death in digital terms, as an on/off situation, in Nature death occurs following analogue routes, with nuances of vitality and transfiguration.


We have chosen the flower, an emblem of beauty and stillness throughout the History of Art. Although the process of cutting a flower and placing into a vase, thus metaphorically “killing” it, is an everyday and artistic process, why does its accelerated artificial disintegration raise feelings of “pity and fear” to the artist and potentially to the spectator?


The flower is put in a space alien to its nature, an oven. However, the ambiguity of the interior depicted in the video gives rise to metaphorical spaces, such as an industrial warehouse and simultaneously a theatre stage. Suddenly, we witness the flower becoming a protagonist in the drama of disintegration and death in the post-industrial era.

 

The gradual death of a beautiful flower produces ironic results. Its witnessed disintegration resembles theatrical action but, at the same time, causes connotations about the failure of civilization to foster sustainability; threatening nature as we know it with global warming. The symbolic violence hidden behind the accelerated disintegration process may also trigger thoughts on war and genocide.


Magenta artistic collaboration was born from the need to explore the crossroads between visual arts, theatre-performance, and media. Magenta’s founding members are Katerina Sotiriou, visual artist/set and costume designer, and Elena Timplalexi, theatre director, playwright and post-doc researcher in Theatre Studies. Other artists and performers may be invited to join in the creative process depending on each project.


Most of our artworks are materialized in video art and the performance medium. Theatre, a background for both of us, becomes a source of inspiration as well as reaction. We think of performance and video art as more effective routes to discuss theatricality and performativity rather than bourgeois theatre conventions and even normalized theatrical avant-garde.


We do not set out to produce art about any particular subject. Our thematic focus varies from anti-consumerism and feminism to climate change and war. But, our artistic creation springs from the need to contemplate fear and defeatism on an individual and collective level.

Through our works, we try to provide the spectator with a setting in which they may find their own space to contemplate fear and defeat. We do not intend to terrify or even provoke our audience, we do not use the code of shock because we do not believe in it. We resist the arena that further enhances defeatism. We try and provide with stimulating material that does not give simple answers to complex problems.

About

Magenta artistic collaboration was born from the need to explore the crossroads between visual arts, theatre, performance and media. Magenta’s founding members are Katerina Sotiriou, visual artist/set and costume designer, and Elena Timplalexi, theatre director, playwright and post-doc researcher in Theatre Studies. Theatre, a background for Magenta, becomes both a source of inspiration as well as reaction. We think of performance and video art as more effective routes to discuss theatricality and performativity rather than bourgeois theatre conventions or even normalized theatrical avant garde.