Preserve Me, 2017, concrete, 363 x 40 x 40. Photography: Robert Glas
I’m standing straight with my arms stretched upwards, supporting the concrete ceiling. This column carries my burden of expectations being a woman in the western society.
Be thin, but not too thin.
Be successful and driven, but caring.
Be strong, but feminine.
By maintaining these expectations for as long as I have known, I started to feel that I am turning into a structural material. I am supporting this stereotype. I am becoming concrete myself.
The site specific installation “Preserve Me” is constructed out of 40 different casts of my own body. The process involved long casting sessions of standing still with my arms stretched up. Each instinctive movement would destroy the cast. The long duration of these sessions and the passiveness of standing still for two hours reinforced the concept of this work. I was casted in plaster, preserving my posture; solid, stretched.
This process communicates my personal feeling of being perceived as a constructive object that effortlessly holds itself up. This way I’m good enough for the outer eyes that observe me, and for the harshest eyes of all: my own.
Thesis: The Beauty Machine
Preserve x 186
Every day I stumble upon close-up images of ‘perfect’ female body parts; perky, smooth, sculpted objects. Each of these fragments looks like it was casted into a silky smooth mould. These floating body parts have neither context nor gravity. As an effect of constantly looking at this, the media made me believe that this is the only way my body should look like.
“Preserve x 186” is my response to this perpetual brainwash. This performative sculpture series was executed by long casting sessions of my body parts. I was casted repeatedly in plaster in front of my every-day public surroundings. By materialising the pain of remaining still in an unnatural position, I protested the constant objectification of women and the expectation of them to remain silent.
Preserve x 186, 2017, plaster, clay, silicone, Body Double silicone, concrete., various measurements.
Photography: Kateryna Snizhko