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Marianne Maderna - Humanimals

Category: Portrait 10. June 2013

A universal artwork of sculpture, drawings and film: at the Gallery of Lower Austria for Contemporary Artin the Dominican church of Krems, multimedia artist Marianne Maderna shows her walk-in installation HUMANIMALS. CastYourArt met Marianne Maderna in her atelier and produced an artist-portrait.

They are thousands of animated drawings, evoking pictograms. They are changeable man-animal chimeras, they are the HUMANIMALS, moving about in the dark churches’ space, dimly lit by black light.
Floating in the room and visible only by their glowing outlines, they are present as thousands of metal wire figures, as well as in a 40-minute long 3D-animation, prepared in cooperation with Ars Electronica Solutions. They were hand-drawn by Maderna and then animated on the computer - the soundtrack is by the artist herself- the visitor can observe it vividly through polarising spectacles.
The setup of the installation invites to change the viewpoint and to move the body in order to reach an un-statical coherence. The work is activated by the visitor as well, who has to move around within the space in order to visually apprehend the installation. Thus the reception of the work turns out to be a physical phenomenon rather than a merely optical one.
The installation is focused on the human body and its movements, here the artist develops a formal language of human body postures, and human emotions are inserted into abstract architecture.
In this work Maderna establishes a dialogue between the viewer and the work, a narrative discourse dedicated to human interactions. Attraction, rejection, the risks of isolation and of affection, all these compete in the configurations of her characters, that either do or do not search and find each other, or they segregate in order to celebrate finding themselves in the other.

Not within the formal sculptural language, but in the physical expressivity of the figurines, their theatrality, as well as with their postures and encoded gestures, they narrate something about themselves and something beyond. In an indirect sense, one can surmise, also about the creator of the work, possibly they are even autobiographical in some sense.

The use of 3D animation and sculptural installation as a medium allows it for Maderna to transmit poetic content without having to recur to the requirements and burdens of a narrative plot. Now, if this transmission consists in making present something that is absent, how can these immobile, inanimate metal wire figures represent this? The concern of Marianne Maderna’s expressive art lies within the capacity to let these figures speak to us.
They appear as real spectres in our civilized and sad existence. These figures, even though made of fragile material, show all their power in this darkened room, in this dim light they seem phantasms of our dreams. Here, dreams are taking shape, memories are evoked and emotions are roused.
A certain ambiguity remains in the discrepancy between the material presence of the work and the referential content that is virtual, unstable and absent. The physical form contrasts with the essential temporality of our life, and finally we remain looking into the abysmal mirror of the silent and immovable image of ourselves.

Under this poetic code the insight consolidates, tending from nature towards human existence, embedded in metaphysical tensions that would not suffice to explain the minor gestures by which we comprehend life.

However, by no means does Maderna renounce the pictorial and sculptural tradition, here we can observe an expressionist of our time at work, with her solitudes, her despair but still on the quest for encountering a stylistic and emotional unity, opening new paths. It is orientated towards the sense of human experience which is never complete without the Other.
A thoroughly illustrated book about Marianne Maderna’s work is published together with this exhibition, curated by Alexandra Schantl. (written by Cem Angeli)

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