Whether acting as a self-confident female fighter, an eccentric lady ruler or a drifter in space: In her art, Nadja Verena Marcin explores a variety of female figures through performative approaches. However, her works do not exclusively focus on the role of women, but offer a wider scope on human existence. In her films, performances, and photographs the artist examines social power structures and behavior patterns and traces fundamental emotions beyond gender roles.
In her performance ZERO GRAVITY (video, 2013) Marcin finds herself both physically and psychologically confronted with exceptional circumstances: While flying over Tampa Bay, Florida, in a rapid 1979 Rockwell Commander, she experiences a state of weightlessness caused by a nosedive maneuver. Thereby, she recites from Nietzsche’s “The Madman” (The Gay Science, 1882): “God is dead, God remains dead, and we have killed him.” The artist charges this moment of “heavenly” hovering, a utopian and happy feeling of detachedness, with a heavy monolog – however, not to proclaim atheism, but rather to encourage new readings of the text that evolve on this interface of life and death, body and soul, art and science.
Inspired by science-fiction movies, such as LOGAN’S RUN (1976), Marcin has created a further complex metaphor of our time with her video TRIPLE F (2013). The film tells the story of three lady rulers at war with each other. The protagonists not only prefer different environments ranging from a castle to urban living; they also differ from each other in terms of look: Like their territories, each is represented by one of the basic colors blue, yellow, and red. At the same time, the striving for power and independence is a shared desire, as much as all of them suffer from feelings of imperfection and repressions. Apart from sociopolitical and economic issues which, among others, question performance- and profit-oriented mechanisms, the position of influential women is another topic of this grotesquely exaggerated scenario.
In CONO SUR, her latest photo series made in Bolivia, Marcin continues her reflections on the role of women and interpersonal relationships. Taken in El Fuerte de Samaipata, a significant ritual site for the Inca and Guarani, the photograph JEDI shows the woman as a fighter. While the location, which is protected as UNESCO world heritage, marks a severe historical cut, in her performance Marcin likewise stages a drastic turning point in our enduring cultural history by celebrating the woman as an active participant in life. Forms of rituals, as symbolized by the “cactus sword”, also play a part in BRIDE. Photographed at the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt lake, Marcin presents herself at this surreal place far from civilization in a blood-smeared weeding dress. The female myth is explored on the example of marriage in all its dichotomies ranging from a festive ceremony to an economic act, from fertility to a state of withering. COLONIALIST, however, circles on the jungle of relationship. Whether the newly entered territory can successfully be turned into a paradise, remains open – likewise the interpretation of the exhibition title which is abstracted in binary codes.
Nadja Verena Marcin (*1982 in Würzburg, lives and works in New York) finished her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Münster in 2007 and graduated from the Columbia University School of the Arts, New York, in 2010. Works by the award-winning artist have been shown in international cities like Seoul, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Basel, New York, and Los Angeles. After participating in biennials, institutional exhibitions and programs, e.g. at ICA, Philadelphia, Garage Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow, or ZKM, Karlsruhe, Kunstverein Unna dedicated a solo show to her in 2014. In May 2015, her new live performance CLONE will premiere at Vox Populi, Philadelphia.
Both the artist and the curator will be present during the opening and artist talk.
Phone: +49 89 70 07 62 0
The works have been funded by:
ZERO GRAVITY, 2013
Aurora Aerospace, Tampa
WARP Contemporary Art Platform, Sint Niklaas
TRIPLE F, 2013
Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Düsseldorf
CONO SUR, 2015
SCHRUPP Architecture, Santa Cruz
KIOSKO Galeria, Santa Cruz