Fleeting, IND

ISHII Gallery, Ram Chaatpar Shilp Nyas, Varanasi / India, 2024
Flower garlands (flower heads, foil, leaves), furniture, prints, paper, 212 x 252 x 48 cm

The artwork „Fleeting“ deals with the transience of the moment and our existence.
In my previous artistic work, I have repeatedly dealt with death and its social representation, as well as with rites. Therefore, I was curious how my stay in Varanasi, where death and rites are very present in everyday life, would affect me and my work.
Deeply touched by the warm welcome and the rites performed at the opening ceremony, I decided to use the flower garlands with which the artists had been honoured for my art project, as they stood as pars pro toto for this beautiful moment, charged with the energies of those present.
The wonderfully fragrant flower heads, which only bloom in all their splendour for a few days and then slowly fade away, seemed to me to be a predestined symbol of transience. During the symposium, I worked with the flower garlands in various settings, breaking them down into smaller and smaller parts and pieces while documenting this process.
First, I used the garlands to write 44 „letters of humanity“, letters of a language not yet developed. These should remind us that human communication is ephemeral and can be difficult, requiring a great deal of sensitivity and empathy.
I then disassembled the garlands into their individual parts and placed those on an existing wall shelf. This process of sorting and organizing can be seen as an act of rebellion against the progressing decay and stands for people’s attempt to hold on to material things and moments, even if this is an impossible undertaking, as decomposition and oblivion are inevitable.
Finally, the dissolution of the garlands progressed as I plucked petals from flower heads, dried them, and formed a room-filling installation.
For the exhibition, part of the installation was transferred to the ISHII Gallery and placed on an old Indian wooden shelf. Two large prints were hung above it, showing different stages of the filling of the wall shelf. The change from the two-dimensionality to the three-dimensionality of the furniture arouses a certain irritation in viewers, raising the question of where the boundaries of illusion and reality lie in our perception.
Archiving and storing are inherent to galleries and museums. However, large parts of the natural material of my artwork contradict this attempt, as they decompose after a certain time, therefore contrasting the functionality of the space. The artwork eludes permanence and may at some point only exist in the viewer’s memory – and later not even there.
At the end of the symposium, the remaining natural components of the installation not being used for „Fleeting“ were handed over to the wind at the highest point of the Ram Chhatpar Shilp Nyas and given to the waters of the river Ganges to complete the cycles of arriving and leaving as well as becoming, being and passing.

Impressions from the opening

with the kind support of: