Bodies of Water
Enar de Dios Rodríguez, Emilie Imán, Ida Retz Wessberg, Sissel Marie Tonn
Curated by Malou Solfjeld with the assistance of Olga Rusnak
Curator Malou Solfjeld has invited four artists to partake in a residency at CCA Andratx and a group exhibition following the residencies, in February 2023. Through a research-based approach, the artists all deal with matters of water expressed on mixed mediums. Quoting the famous hydrofeminist thinker Astrida Neimanis, we question the meeting points and transition zones between “me” and “you”, “us” and “them”, “here” and “there”, with the purpose of breaking down boundaries and finding common ground within the in-between, the transitory, the fluid state of mind and the liquid becoming of place.
Inspired by the biological concept, Solfjeld uses the “ecotone” as a curatorial method, enhancing the dialogue between different works and worlds; one example hereof is the way the artworks of the host bodies are accompanied by guests of honour. Hidden treasures from the CCA collection and carefully chosen works brought to Mallorca in the suitcase of the curatorial team are manifesting their presence within the show as liquid assets. Another important feature besides the artworks are the way in which the exhibition leaks into the physical surroundings outside the gallery through a collaboration with Cleanwave Foundation, a community-engaging non-profit organisation working witheducation, protection and regeneration of land and sea in the Mediterranean. Their documentary “Out of Plastic” is on display next to the works on paper by Sissel Marie Tonn. All proceeds from the sales of this body of work will be donated to the Cleanwave Foundation in order to support their ongoing restoration of underwater kelp forests in Sant Elm.
Bodies of Water furthermore gives an exclusive insight into the behind the scenes-work of the artists and curator: work in progress is revealed through sketches, props, glazing tests, notes, mind maps and research literature as it all melts together in a pool of ideas, speculations, fables and suggestions of how we envision different realities to each our own. The beautiful curtains made by the socioeconomic company i tråd med verden encloses a small room created with the purpose of rest: offering both hosts and guests an opportunity to withdraw and take a breath. This room may be used by parents who prefer to nurse their babies in peace, staff in the gallery who need a break or visitors who feel like engaging deeper with the material that has created the foundation blocks of the show. A liquid library is available in the shape of the curator’s own books and notebooks. Everyone is invited to borrow or add literature about water-related topics to the library, which will travel with the exhibition to Bornholm later in the year 2023 and be revived at the harbour-based exhibition platform SOL.
Curator Malou Solfjeld investigates the kinship between the Balearic and the Baltic Sea while also looking into the way her own body is creating waves in the world. Both Mallorca and Bornholm are known as sunshine islands where water plays an essential role in the critical infrastructure. Also, both are home to holy springs; the Tramuntana spring in the mountains of Mallorca and “Helligdomskilden” located by Helligdomsklipperne at Bornholm. The curator has a personal relationship to the two: Mallorca was her home for three years and Bornholm is where her mother resides. Solfjeld finds herself in-between; what Neimanis refers to as the ecotone: eco = home, tone = tension. “We must learn to be at home in the quivering tension of the in-between ecotone. No other home is available.”
Recently she felt connected to water in new ways by flowing through the state of pregnancy, becoming a mother herself. Her ongoing research in ‘be-coming home’, combines ecology, environment and care in its broadest sense – with this exhibition she wishes to share hope rather than fear; inspired by her son who do not show any sign of the end of the world, rather the contrary: new life continues to grow and what can be more re-affirming than a baby’s laughter or a toddler cuddling like a koala? We are all bodies of water and there is always a risk of flooding – but for now, let’s celebrate the interconnected web of water we all share and contribute to, simply by breathing the same air and swimming in the same sea. Let us cherish the water in the mountains, in the rocks, in the seas and in the lakes – the water in our bodies that carry our babies.
About the artists:
Emilie Imán (*host body*)
Emilie Imán studies expanded conscious experiences through painting as the medium that transcends body, mind, time and space. The artists’ interest in water is currently informed by the Lakota people and other South American tribe traditions and practices of honouring and connecting with the elements. Through shamanic rituals, ceremonies and plant medicine, Imán engages with ancient futures and explores holistic ways of tuning in on the frequencies which travel between our ancestors and the surroundings that are yet to be born.
The works of Imán exist as consciousness expanding corporal ecosystems on the borderline between abstract figuration and contemporary surrealism. One may sense anatomical and botanical structures intertwining in a marriage built on magical-spiritual, ancestral wisdom and modern-day neuro-affective psychology. Imán has explained the exercise of painting as entering a uterus and the artist encourages us to unlearn what we have hitherto identified as “truth”. She invites us to use her paintings as a way to navigate and integrate the frequencies that are made available through rituals and rites of passage in her practice.
Ida Retz Wessberg (*host body*)
Since 2022, the Danish artist Ida Retz Wessberg has been working on her site-specific work Water Sculpture for The Tramuntana Spring. The artwork is connected to a pool in CCA's patio, which contains water from the local Tramuntana spring and runs in CCA's backyard. The first ceramic vessel has a left-turned spiral, inspired by how the ions lie in vitalized water. Vitalized water is an old science, but has become known in the western world mainly from Grander Water-technology used by large companies to avoid limescale in the water in their production. The shape of the second vessel has emerged by combining the shape of a water molecule with a uterus. The third vessel is imprinted with bubble wrap, a material Retz Wessberg has used in several of her artworks. At once paying tribute to the element of air while also reminding us of the plastic pollution in the surrounding Balearic Sea. Included in the installation, in the bassin, is a sphere in turquoise isomalt sugar. Due to sun light exposure the sphere will change and slowly erode during the exhibition period. Retz Wessberg is occupied with topics such as the body, circulation and circuits, the female narrative in history, power structures, how people capitalise on nature, the relationship between the visible and the invisible.
Enar de Dios Rodríguez (*host body*)
Enar de Dios Rodríguez examines human mapping of the ocean and is concerned with the violence in exploring, extracting and exploiting the seabed for the sake of internet cables, mineral mining and other neo-colonial “new world findings”. Rodríguez’ video essay “Liquid Ground” is constructed as a set of riddles, reminiscing in an uncanny manner of the children’s games from one’s own childhood: knock, knock, who’s there? Even more frightening are the answers… Although the oceans make up more than 70% of the earth, only a very small part of the seabed has been charted. In recent years, the mapping of these spaces has accelerated due to different economic, geopolitical and scientific interests. Like the imperialists in previous centuries, world leaders today are determined to build a “new continent” to be explored and exploited under the sea. Rodríguez’s work “Map of the Pacific Ocean”, a series of brochures available to the visitors of the exhibition, visualises this endeavour by depicting how seabed areas formerly considered Common Heritage of Mankind are currently being divided between nations.
To converse with her video installation, Rodríguez’ further includes her work Greetings from, which deals with beach nourishment: the process by which sand from one place is replaced by sand from other sources in order to maintain and/or construct paradisiacal landscapes. After water, sand is the most extracted natural material by humans, a material on which society is built on. Contrary to what is thought, it is also a limited material whose extraction is causing irreparable damages in nature. This photographic series is part of Vestiges, an interdisciplinary project that investigates the insatiable demand of sand as well as its socio-political and environmental consequences.
Sissel Marie Tonn (*host body*)
Sissel Marie Tonn has for years been challenging the idea of a body separated from its surroundings, a notion that has dominated the Western worldview. Through extensive artistic research in micro plastic pollution, PFAS and PFOA and other toxic chemicals inhabiting different bodies of water, Tonn is studying the network of fluids flowing through all beings, focusing on shared aquatic origins and the material entanglement (re)connecting marine and land-based organisms.
Her most recent work explores the concept of sentinel species: Sentinels is the collective name given by environmental scientists to organisms whose sensitivity to environmental change helps to understand the health and vulnerability of an ecosystem. The study of sentinel organisms in the ocean sheds light on the effects of microplastic pollution. Recent research has shown that microplastic pollution is also found within human bodies, suggesting that humans have joined the ranks of the sentinel species.
Mike MacLeod Worning (*Guest of Honour*)
Mike Mac-Leod Worning’s universe of meditations are portals through which we can transcend our own preconditioned, binary worldview of here and there, them and us.
Cosmic bodies rotating, reminiscing of chakras and other-worldly visions; the drawings vibrate between a microscopic scale and a cosmic horizon; from the personal to the planetary. The water is not a direct motif, but can be traced in the circular idiom, echoing the hydrological cycle describing the continuous movement of water. The symbols in the works open up a fluid invitation to engage, meditate and float along, while the curator encourages us to consider the fact that the Earth is the only planet in “our” solar system, that contains water in a liquid state, thus making the planet the only habitable that we know of, so far...
Ida Lunden (*Guest of Honour*)
Ida Lunden's sensuous plaster casts are modulations of touch, cohesion, and community through which they explore the kinship between death and creation. Caring for the newborn and caring for the dying, Lunden’s reliefs epitomise the similarities between birth and burial.
From the feeling of homelessness that the breakdown of the body engenders, to the establishment of an expanded consciousness in co-creation with her peers, Lunden works to nourish the common body and build a common "home" - understood as a mental place.
The artist’s practice is informed by historical and contemporary traditions within handicrafts and inspired by the philosophical orientation "hydrofeminism". Based on the artist's interest in home, household, grief and care, bodily experience and memory inherited through generations are examined in performative modulations and castings of hands, pills, breastfeeding pads and pacifiers.
Elisabeth Molin (*Guest of Honour*)
Dreams that makes you sea sick (2021) Cardboard box, monitor, cable, HD Video 2.35 min loop 11 x 32 x 22 cm
A cardboard box seemingly leftover from the install lies casually on the exhibition floor. Upon closer inspection the box accommodates the ocean. Endless waves looping below the surface, revealing a work reflecting on metaphorical and physical distances: the movement of goods from one destination to another, the distance between water and the ability to contain it, and the way technology displaces notions of distance and proximity.When googling the artist’s name, the following images appears on my screen: one of a woman dressed as a tiger swimming in the CCA mountain pool, and another of the same person wearing a cloud suit, holding a fish in her hands. Elisabeth Molin has previously worked with liquid assets in many ways; from her mother’s wellies evaporating steam to another recent work carrying the poetic title: While we sleep sharks swim between your ear and mine
Kate Fahey (*Guest of Honour*)
Kate Fahey’s crying walls and little fishes adds another dimension to the exhibition. With their spiritual identities and three dimensional bodies of water, they offer a special energy to the gallery, and animates the air around them. The artist wrote in a text message to the curator: “I was thinking a lot about wetness and leaks and the liveliness of these things and what kind of creatures might exist there...so I made these, all different, something or some kind of creature between slugs, eels etc. They were originally made for a show called 'blubbing' which explored crying/leaking bodies, especially the body of the space itself and the walls/architecture.”
Helene Appel (*Liquid Asset*)
Claudia Wieser (*Liquid Asset*)
Manuela Leinhos (*Liquid Asset*)
Yelena Poppova (*Liquid Asset*)
Sascha Braunig (*Liquid Asset*)
Alexandra Meyer (*Liquid Asset*)
I tråd med verden
Circle curtains can be purchased online: https://itmv.dk/webshop/
To acquire the curtains on display in the exhibition, please contact email@example.com
Vandana Shiva, Andri Snær Magnason, Helen Scales, Jamie Linton, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Srecko Horvat, Liesel Burisch, Tine Ejby, Sidsel Winther Hansen, Ernst Hackel, Astrida Neimanis
Framed work, pencil and thread on paper by Olimpia Velasco. From the curator’s private collection.
Velasco is living and working in Mallorca and the work was acquired in 2020 during the first covid lockdown, and continues to this day to symbolize care and comfort in a world where “home” is as abstract as “the future”.
To learn more about the foundation’s work with eco-emotional education workshops, community-driven marine restoration and generation of open-knowledge, please visit https://www.cleanwavefoundation.org/
Watch “Out of Plastic” at home: https://youtu.be/gJ6ErqSoGk8
Generously supported by: Danish Arts Foundation, Goethe Institut
Special thanks to the CCA team, Patricia, Jacob, Mio and Niklas
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