Able Gallery, Berlin, Germany, 2009, Foundation for promoting Contemporary Art / Gallery program, Warsaw, Poland 2011, Wroclaw Contemporary Museum 2013
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Excessive, 29 x 43 cm, pen on paper, 2009
Every square inch of these drawings captures pure violence. Dance macabre of red and black. It is a clash of two forces conflicting in every aspect. Pinturas negras demonstrate the “fear of influence” , through violence closing like a circle of sterile, mechanical, fetishistic repetition. Feverish scarlet, the explosion of creative energy, both euphoric and forewarning is, on the other hand, harder to grasp. The red part, it is a cut ,a tiny change, perhaps purely to spite repetition, academic structures and patriarchal subjection. It could be, however to illustrate the moment when the limit of endurance is reached and no other manoeuvre is possible. This particular move allows to search for new life forms. A mischievous error interpreted as the explosion of re-creation, in the Agambenic sense of the word. Nobody waits for revolution or epiphany anymore; what they do wait for is an unexpected break that will reduce the unbearable, oppressive dialogue to silence.
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Decompression that disturbs the cycle of violence and system of terror. What is the fundamental stake in this game “Artistic immortality”. It is not true what Beckett says, that “to be an artist is to fail as no other fail”. Of course, all that strategy is not free from narcissism, and Maess knows how to use it in her own way. It brings to mind ivy, or a spider’ s web; content-wise, the drawings are very dense, concentric, coherent and strong. They absorb everything around them. They feed on any metaphors that brush against them. They are like a sequence of battle plans, sectional views of shapes created by a dynamic shift in pressure. The created work is the result of a perpetual power friction, a breach of the domination. An ever-changing front line of a battle. Gentileschi also searched for the bloody floating shape in the streams of the vital fluid gushing from the neck of her victim-executioner.
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It is not easy to grasp, because fragments of it are deliberately used as part of a broader narrative, of affinity and rivalry. This way the feverish scarlet of the drawings is justified also by the blood of the dead lover/phantasm.The figure which, cringing like a prawn on a fork, is present in some of the drawings has its origins also in a rather modern myth. It is taken from the final sequence of The Last Tango in Paris by Bertolucci. Iti s one of the inspirations, references, but also precursors of the series. The relation between the work of Bertolucci and Maess drawings is somewhat troublesome. Shooting the lover/abuser in his desperate try to escape leaves a scarlet spatter of blood and letter fragments. That convulsively twitching larva/beast obsessively repeats ” I Want You, I want you, I want you. J’ai tres envie de toi. JTEDT. Not even the remains of a language but of a typography.
Utterances, like a seal on the lips of the obscene desire. It is worth remembering that Bertolucci’ s film, apart from the story of a man and a woman, tells the story of tyranny of the film itself, and the topics mirror each other. The strategy of analyzing the line between film and drawing without the medium of animation or comic strip craze, seems to be a source of great pleasure for Maess, as she has been successfully using it for a long time now. It is also just one of the riddles/traps set by the artist. Just like the slightly provocative technical virtuosity and Maess-specific asceticism. As a result, her drawings surprise with their force and intensity. The surface is covered with the explosion of red, pulsating energy set free, eliminating any obstacles between the idea and the artist, between the idea and the receiver. Looking at those explosions I cannot get this statement by Paul Valéry. out of my mind: First of all, and above all, the painter takes his body with him.
txt: Michał Fopp trad. Karolina Moens
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“The day is not enough” exhibition at Wrocław Contemporary Museum