Ana & Sever Petrovici-Popescu. The Other’s Skin
12 – 26 Nov 2020
opening reception: 12 Nov / 6pm
Future Museum (Ion Ghica 11, Bucharest)
Mo – Fri | 10.00am – 4.00pm
‘The Other`s Skin’ investigates the social, religious and political constructs that affect the interpersonal relationship by normalizing the hierarchies and divisions destined with predilection for Other. The rules are internalized until the personal identity is broken.
In this context, the identity of the Other looks like the folds of the skin that gather in its layers unequal conglomerates of fat and memory of the power relations encountered both in one’s own society and abroad. Thus, the Other enters into a process of definition and self-definition in which he is cut and researched, but once broken, it gives rise to new cuts, new angles that help him or prevent him from reacting. The skin becomes heavier and detaches itself from the body by losing its subjectivity.
My works come from a power relationship that is always unequal to the Other, his tendency to impose himself and my inability to retaliate.
Society is built on relations of subordination whether we are talking about the hierarchical structure at work, or we are talking about family relationships. Any interaction between two people gives rise to an unequal relationship.
In this situation of aggression and domination specific to society, the weakest does not have any chance to express himself, his skin becomes his last protection in front of the other. When the skin becomes an armor, it no longer belongs to you, it’s just a coating that keeps track of all aggression.
On top of the society`s rules comes the one created by religion. Even today, religion is often used as a supreme argument to make people shut up, to put the Other on the defensive position in the name of a supreme authority, and it can be used to dismiss any inconvenient public manifestation, but also to regulate the most intimate aspects of life.
When a person migrates, he is automatically assigned the role of the Other that he considers temporary if he follows the requirements of integration. What follows is a love and hate situation for both the migrant and the host society.
The condition and integration of the migrant can also be discussed in agricultural terms, especially during the pandemic that highlighted the inequalities on the Romanian seasonal workers. Integration can be like the grafting in pomiculture, because it involves the inoculation of principles and values much more appropriate to become the universal/ global individual. However, in the process of cutting, by opening the skin, the inside can pour and contaminate the space with its strangeness and specificity.
Just as it is normal for agricultural products to be eaten, it is required for the migrant to assimilate, to digest a new culture. Claude Levi-Strauss stated that in order to be able to identify with the other, it is necessary to eat him, so integration becomes equivalent to cannibalize and letting yourself be cannibalized.
From this perspective, the EAT ME, EATING YOU installation approaches the digestion process, which can only be in both directions. The armpit is that part hidden from sight that we hardly use in touching the Other, but when the underarm expands, the movement becomes disarticulated and new, and it begins to resemble an always full and hungry mouth through which it can grasp the Other. The armpit tastes it with desire, with moisture and with cracked pores, but it can’t keep it inside for a long time, so it ends up flooding the others` corporal space. The repetition of the form with methyl blue disinfects and cleanses, keeping to a certain extent the toxicity that by obsession gives rise to fetishization.
A FINGER IN EVERY PIE addresses the statement of German Foreign Minister Bernhard von Bülow who said in 1897 that Germany needed colonies to have the same status as the world’s great powers.
To emphasize the power of seduction and anxiety of a cannibal relationship, I chose to use the artificiality of plastic because it contrasts with the naturalness of the skin, becoming a support while imitating / replacing the softness and smoothness of those areas of the body excluded or hidden in clothes.
This event is organised by Future Museum (Centrul Ceh București), with the support of Budweiser Budvar.