The Venus in Furs, 2006

Video Performance

“It was a large oil painting, done in the robust full-bodied manner of the Belgian school. Its subject was strange enough. A beautiful woman with a radiant smile upon a face, with abundant hair tied into a classical knot, on which white powder lay like soft hoarfrost, was resting on an ottoman, supported on her left arm. She was nude under her dark furs. Her right hand played with a lash, while her bare foot rested carelessly on a man lying before her like a slave, like a dog”

Venus in Furs, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (page 59, Blast Books, New York)

 

The Hairy Virgin

The Hairy Virgin is a true story of a girl whose entire body was covered with hair. She was introduced to the King Charles the 4th, Emperor and King.

In his book “Histoires Prodigieuses”, Pierre Boaistuau explains that during her pregnancy, the mother of the Hairy Virgin had seen a statue of Saint John that was covered with animal fur. With the power of her imagination, the mother “transferred” the hair onto the body of her forthcoming baby. The maternal imagination has the power to shape the progeny, it is called the “monstrous imagination”.

“A hairy virgin was shown completely covered with hair like a bear; she was born thus deformed and hideous because her mother had gazed too intensely upon an effigy of St John dressed in animal skins which hung at the foot of her bed when she conceived.

It is certain that these monstrous creatures most often are the consequence of divine judgment, justice, punishment, and curse; horrified by their sin, God allows [women] to produce such abominations because they hurl themselves forward indifferently, like savage beasts that only follow their appetites, with no consideration of age, place, time, and the other laws established by Nature”

Pierre Boaistuau, Histoires prodigieuses, 1560


The Choir, 2003

I don’t know how to explain my art. I don’t know how to tell it. If I try, I have the impulse to be faithless, to betray it, to empty it, to steal its soul. When I look at my work I read it; my artwork talks and responds to me. We were “one” for a while but now it is one by itself. It is not me anymore. Nevertheless there is still a lot of me in it. Sometimes I am uncomfortable, other times it bothers me, I feel unveiled, and some other time I am surprised. To explain it is giving to the origin of the artwork.

Where does the idea come from? I don’t know where my ideas come from. They come from the fact that I am born that winter in 1963 in France, that I grew up in a little closed village in Alsace, that I am the third child of a family of four, that my father is my father and that he gave me what he gave me, that my mother is my mother and that I love her for that. That my mother tongue is French but I was cradled in “Alsatian” (German dialect). That I drink coffee in the morning and that I eat what I eat. An idea is a chemical reaction that I cannot explain. I find. I create. When I worked on this project as I always do I was living and breathing through it. All I was perceiving, reading, seeing, dreaming was through it.

Sometimes I have ideas that are like explosions coming out from my pores.

I believe in a conceptual instincts.

In this work I talk about my childhood, the world I come from. The Sunday masses, women sitting on the left benches, men sitting on the right benches. The aisles in the middle. I am telling my childhood, what I saw, what I heart, what I perceived.

My dreams.

My reality.

Andrée Weschler

 

Black #02

Black #02 is part of a  series of performances using the colour black. The material for the Performance Art is a pair of  Black Stocking and Red Shoes. The initial inspiration of the performance is a memory of Weschler's childhood:

 "In 1975 I was 12 years old, I was still a child and not a teenager yet. It was the seventies, the era of the platform shoes and wide-legged, flared jeans. I wanted to wear stockings with my skirt and I asked my mum to buy me a pair. Fashion for   children at that time was limited and it was difficult to find a pair that  would suit a 12 year old’s skinny body, they were either too big for a child or too small for a woman. My beloved mum bought me the smallest pair she could find. I tried them on and   they were too big for me that I could squeeze in all my body inside except   for the head. When my mum asked how they were fitting me, I remember that I replied that they were great and I walked in front of her with my platform shoes, the torso and two arms inside the stocking

An artist conveys images"



The Memory of Water, 2012

The Memory of Water, is part of Singapore Intensive, presented by Future Perfect, Gilman Barracks, Singapore

Journal of an artist who does not want to write a statement

11th of July 2012: I decided to write a journal to document the creation and thought process of the project until its finalized. The intention of the journal is humble; the ambition, non-existent. Maybe it will satisfy my personal curiosity, which is to understand the mystery of where an idea comes from. Last night I heard the story of Leopoldine, the eldest daughter of Victor Hugo. She went to a promenade on a bank on the rive Seine. Her young husband was with her. The boat tipped over and Leopoldine fell into the water. She did not know how to swim, and her husband dived to save her but could not take her out of the nets in which she got tangled. Understanding that he could not save her, he embraced her and they died in each other’s arms. The bodies were found embracing each other and Victor Hugo had them buried in the same coffin.

I just finished a book that I did not really appreciate but that inspired me to write a diary. The writer wrote a small diary at the end of his novel. I enjoyed traveling in between the two spheres, from the world of his fiction to his reality. There is an innate curiosity to find out what lies backstage.

18th of July 2012: My father asked me today, as he looked deep into my eyes, if I knew what is the most important thing in life. I had an idea but I thought I’d better listen. He said that life is short; everything passes by so it is very important that I enjoy what I am doing, and please myself. 

I hope I will not forget this. This is why I wrote it down.

10Th of August 2012: Thinking of a title. Looking for words that speak about liquids, fluidity, stains, marks, stories… 

Collection of titles: The Memory of Water - Black Milk - Blue Beard - Chinese Ink - Made of liquid (title of a song) - Le rêve entouré d’eau (title of a novel by Bernard Chapuis)

25th August 2012: I have an image in my mind: it is a small circle made out of black ink on which I’ll project a video. Will it render the image in a more fragile way?

I have decided to have three projections:  one on Chinese ink, one on a blue liquid and one on milk.

4th September 2012: The colors... Why these three colors? White is innocence, purity, symbolizing what has not yet been tainted. Blue is the color of the imagination, it reminds me of the fairy tale ‘Blue Beard’ by Charles Perrault. Black is dark and infinite, just like unhappiness.

29th September 2012: I bought three pots. Now I can start to work on the videos and see how they will interact with the pots.

18th October 2012: Only one more month left. I was asked to write a statement but for the moment my only concern is the milk. Everyday I am doing a new experiment with different types of milk. I am looking for a type of milk that does not age! What I really mean is one that does not ferment. I tried fresh milk, skinny milk, super skinny with no taste, milk in powder and condensed milk. 

20th October 2012: I tested the pots. Each pot can contain 76 liters!

21st October 2012: This morning I received an SMS from a friend: “Andrée, my friend said that you have to pasteurize the milk. Basically, heat it at high temperature, 100 Celsius for about 30 to 40 seconds then store it in a cold place. Pasteurization will kill the microbes and slow down the spoiling process, but it will still spoil. There is no other way than this one. I asked her if you still needed to pasteurize milk that comes in a carton and has already been pasteurized. She said: “yes”.

24th October 2012: I met a writer who is also a storyteller. He said, among many other things, that for him artistic creation starts with an intuition. I would say that it starts with an instinct. Intuition is much more beautiful. Each of his words were carefully chosen. I wish I could master words. With me, everything comes from spontaneity. When I speak I listen to others discovering with surprise sometimes what I am saying. My performances are like that too. I never know what I will do or what will happen and after my performance, I cannot recall some of the actions. What I like the most of when I perform is when I detach myself from my body as if I was levitating and looking at myself. This is Nirvana.

30th October 2012: I have done a few tests on small pots the few last weeks. When seeing them for the very first time, the visual was incredibly exciting and magical. The videos need to be edited in a round shape to fit into the pot. A round shape is easier said than done because there are many ways to make it and technology is never simple to me. I need help.

5th November 2012: Not happy with my new video of honey, everything is yellowish and this agitates me. There will be no peace until the color is right. Have to redo it. 

6th November 2012: Next week I am installing the work into the space and I’m still writing now… It is early morning and everybody is still sleeping. It is a strange feeling that I am working for 4 months on a project with only an image in head that I am trying to recreate and there is no work to be seen. Nothing is tangible yet. I have some pots behind me and some bottles of ink in another corner. However, the lighting is ready but nevertheless I am feeling butterflies in my stomach. I will orchestrate all these things in the space. This gives me an adrenaline high. I worry that I will not be able to re-create the magic I experienced, of the very first time I tried this.

 

Innocence #05

Innocence #05 is the last piece of a series of performance using only white material. 

Material used for innocence #05 is Honey

"Each time I go back to France I enjoy climbing up to the attic of my parent's house and look for memories from my childhood. One box, my favourite, contains belongings of my late grandma. It is a treasure box for me. It has been a few years now that I have been performing in her undergarment" 

 Singapore 2008, Picture by Daniela Guerra

Singapore 2008, Picture by Daniela Guerra

Innocence #01

Innocence#01 the first  of a series performances working with the colour white.

The material for Innocence #01 is eggs with white shell

 Singapore 2007

Singapore 2007

Innocence #02

Innocence #02 is part of a series of Performances Art using only material with the color white.

The material for Innocence #02 is Baby Powder

 Singapore 2008 Picture by Anita Vozza

Singapore 2008 Picture by Anita Vozza

Innocence

ICASTICA 2013, First Women Biennale, Arezzo, Italy

Picture by Anita Vozza

 Italy 2013 Picture by Anita Vozza

Italy 2013 Picture by Anita Vozza

Innocence

In 2006, my life was a desert. Everybody seemed busy, active, alive, while I was a prisoner in my own apartment. Nothing was happening in my life, and I felt I was a thing among others in my home. One day I received from a friend a pack of clay. I started to roll small pearls of porcelain from the clay for no reason. They were cute. To escape from my lethargy, every night I rolled pearls made of porcelain, like Penelope weaving her tapestry while waiting for Ulysses, except that in my story there was no Ulysses. All the pearls together became a very long necklace of a few metres; very beautiful, very difficult to move, very heavy.”

This was some years ago and for me it is now impossible to repeat that work. Everything has changed since then: the others and I. Therefore the symbolism of the pearls has evolved as well. This time the necklace will weight 50 kilogrammes to embody my 50 years of life. It was a spontaneous idea that I had, which I expressed the idea with joy; 50 is a number so easily said but 50 kilogrammes of porcelain can be tedious and laborious.

 

 Italy 2013 Picture by Anita Vozza

Italy 2013 Picture by Anita Vozza