At the level of remains

Isabelle Andriessen and Aleksandra Sidor 

24 June – 6 August 2022

I call thee. Come forth and follow the celebration of the proceeding rite. 
Come forth and follow to the level below. To the level of remains. 
Remains whose patterns and shapes have bespoken the myths of human, Sun and Earth.
Whose patters and shapes have composed stories of unstable bodies, grotesque limbs, crystalline landscapes and toxic liquids – mutating from sculpture to painting, and from sculpture to performance; morphing… trembling in abject terror.
Come forth, to the level of remains.
Within liminality’s border we dance. 
Hand in hand. Limb in Limb. 
Where the bones and skins of the un-dead lie to parch up.
Where by the extension to the study of alchemies and anatomies, the quintessence of trauma may be understood. 
Where a curse and grief are locked into three canvases.
Where the Three Shades or the souls of the damned have been lifted from the Gates of Hell.
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.
Watch the opulent tribulations of bodies being disfigured and wretched creatures being filled with the venom of life itself. 
Hear the slow cracking of the ceramic skin and the melancholic, heatless burning of the red sun.
Let it move you and excite you. 
Dance under the Stalactites sky and the blood moons.
Come forth and follow to the level of remains, through the forbidden depths of darkness hidden within.

A vial of Iron II sulphate is poured by Andriessen into one creature.
A vial of nickel sulphate is poured into the other two.
…and the meaning collapses.
The ritual begins. Inanimate becomes animated. The ruins have quivered. The gods of the fossils of the future have spoken.
Dead, yet sensing the slow burning pleasure and torment of a new outer life inside and beyond the threshold of their ceramic vessels, Tidal Spill and Cryo-rite begin a new cycle of existence.
Dreaming the life-that-is-not, they are sweating, leaking and oozing to the rhythm of dark and rich tribal drumming and mantra-like chanting.
In Tidal Spill, bones or limbs ridden by a mysterious ‘Kindred Disease’¹ as they are resting within a nuclear exclusion zone-like terrain.
Cryo-rite is hanging on the wall like Gothic wall sconces – it begins to sparkle, darkly, with sulphur neon blue of the apocalypse.
There is no system to their resurrection. No script per se. Pure entropy – guided by the environmental factors. The anti-systemic disorder is finger pointing and laughing demonically at the terrors of the structured, institutionalised and centralised forms of thought and behaviour. The fluorescent toxicity of green and blue is crying desperately at the horrors of the poisoned Earth. A divine punishment and a manmade disaster.
The debris; the contamination; the trauma; the decay; the crystallising; the notion of finitude are as appalling, as they are romantic, since they carry a transformative potential – the faint hopefulness of Endism. At the level of remains…

At the level of remains… Sidor looks at the tortured pose and the exaggerated slope of the heads of Rodin’s Three Shades. And she goes inside it, she pulls it outside of itself, and pushes it back to the inside again as the sculpture morphs into paintings. A hand grabs a neck – violently, an arm wrestles a thigh – tensely, a spine stretches itself – painfully, a nipple kisses the sun – softly, a head like a hole, severs itself – gently.
The anatomical distortions capture the uncanniness and the torment of a curse, grief, trauma and depression. The flames of the sun are not lit, they do not heat, they do not nurture. The sun is dead. It is melancholic. It is a cosmic element symbolic of a state of post-traumatic sadness – it is so close, yet so far away.
The bodies are tormented and distorted by some higher powers, as they are being lit and burnt by sorrow. The figures – the melancholics suffer from ‘symbolic collapse’ – as Kristeva would have it – ‘a slowing down of linguistic activity and a feeling of meaninglessness and despair’. The sadness and grotesqueness of their abject ridden, apocalyptic bodies however, somehow, carries layers of intimate warmth.
Their embraces are close, perhaps even erotic. The uncanniness of the thin veil between eroticism, violence and death seeps from the canvases. The apocalyptic, agonising bodies are perhaps a precondition of painlessness.

At the level of remains, the universe is oozing abject. Andriessen and Sidor create a liminal zone where bodies and creatures embrace the mortal sickness, trauma, decay, repulsion and deformation; as they are performing a rite towards a kind of immortal purification. We are disgusted, yet we want to keep looking as within their, suddenly too familiar, wrenching, lies their transformative power. It is a zone for communal suffering. And its darkness is thrilling. Come forth and follow to the level below. To the level of remains.
In wretched-ness we dance. Hand in hand. Limb in Limb.

Agnes Gryczkowska


¹ referencing Zaliva-D’s song called ‘Kindred Disease’