Text Dr. Elisa Ganivet, english

A Red Thread

 In her exhibition HEIMAT-LAND-LUXUS, Miriam Wuttke raises fundamental questions concerning the contemporary applications of art. The multidisciplinary artist commits herself to a dialectic force that leaves none indifferent. She explores a range of possibilities that forces us to confront our own breaches and unity.

The exploration of diverse forms of expressions including painting, performance art, installations … refers back to the original question of artistic representation. The artist represents the world and herself by and through the notion of a given reality, thus engaging this reality in the process. This median proposal is diverted, crushed, and converted. The new, possible reality thus confers an Aura to the resulting work of art. The various mediums used by Wuttke come together, fall apart, and recombine into a singular cosmology.

Present here are breaches and unity. These poles mingle and produce a lavish construction in the name of art. Is this not the point of art to always seek its own limits in order to push past them?

Baudelaire stated the ambivalent nature of Modernity can be found in its capacity to ” extract from fashion whatever element it may contain of poetry within history, to distil the eternal from the transitory.”[1] Modernity is also “the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.”[2] We see that fashion, ephemeral by definition, is merely food for thought. The artist is led to build on a reality that she must necessarily deny; for the representation of reality is not reality itself. This definition coupled with the postmodern affirmation that “anything goes” indicates the extent to which the practice of art is risky due to its highly subjective nature. The answer (fortunately) lies elsewhere, in the perception of the artist and the receiver-public.

What Wuttke so admirably offers us is a clear return to the roots of art linked to fundamental issues; the very issues that are too often forgotten in the current fascination with Fashion and trends in the art world. While the subject has lost its Aura since the massive surge in industrialization, this appropriation by the artist does not refer to her a priori power but to her conceivable fragility. Wuttke appropriates these issues in order to re-inject them with a form of humanization. A fragility rediscovered through the humanization of object projects a certain poetry. Poetry, though it is as rough as our world, does however provide a breach to another possible reality. It is only by breaking codes that cohesion can be created and hence a new perspective.

Essentially, Wuttke’s cosmology is transversely wrapped around the notion of the object. Here the object is not Duchampian The issue is not the positioning of a ready-made but rather, an aesthetic narrative that successively uses objects to create a network. The narration thus evolves according to the discipline used. Respect for the object requires its recurrent exploration. Its modulations could thus be defined in her non-exhaustive descriptions:

The syntax of a manufactured object.

The natural, animal object, diverted or not from its primary function.

The punctual memory of a souvenir object of a third party.

The hieratic warmth of a religious object.

The comfort of kitsch objects.

The trace of the object.

Their environments combine Nature with a wave of Punk. The collection and interaction of the game with these objects, creates parameters and forges an evolving, artistic dialectic. Through multi-disciplinarity, Wuttke channels flows according to the language proposed. As Deleuze stated,

“A person is always a point of departure for the production of a flow, a point of destination for the reception of a flow, a flow of any kind; or, better yet, an interception of many flows.”[3] The artist is the oldest of these flows. Indeed, diverting the reality of objects achieves transcendence. Simulacrum is no longer an excuse as we work our way into a symbolic projection that replaces all the codes and signs known at the start. This new cosmological economy spins, crashes together, dissolves into each other… For example, performance can maintain objects within a ritual process. Installations can transform them into a frozen temporality. Watercolors can freeze them in a broader temporality…

The unprecedented appears within a ritual circle. Though ritual is ancestral, here it is born again into a newfound virginity. And through it all, the same sensations make themselves felt… What is a ritual if it is not a purifying metamorphosis of its Dasein via the channeling object? Durkheim wrote “Ritual can only be defined once we have defined belief.”[4] What constitutes Miriam Wuttke’s belief? Belief about Art and Life. The exaltation is lived and felt in her art .While the performance offers a concentration beyond anything that can be foreseen, the medium provides additional layers, which can be conceived as triggers for meditation on our contradictory human condition. On our breaches and our unity.

Apart from multidisciplinarity, the importance of the (re)presented object, its virginal diversion through performative ritual, Wuttke reexamines Heimat’s themes. This term is specific to German and is difficult to translate. While we have become utterly “patchworked” individuals, thanks in particular to cyber-computer tools, the Heimat has become the one, remaining territorial value. Its communicative value has no equal. The individual and collective memory that we maintain is our literally vital reference. A return to the Heimat is highly symbolic, it reminds us of our ovular attachment. This link is continuously evolving. Though transmission is incumbent on Woman and the power of production on Man, role codes evolve in a postmodern context.

The original Heimat, then the following geographical ones, are territories that shape us, in which we lose ourselves, we find ourselves, and in which we forget our existence. Just like the body, which is the inclusive element of art developed by Wuttke. This is the other original territory, where all utopias are possible. As Foucault puts it, “the body is the zero point of the world. There, where paths and spaces come to meet, the body is nowhere. It is at the heart of the world, this small utopian kernel from which I dream, I speak, I proceed, I imagine, I perceive things in their place, and I negate them also by the indefinite power of the utopias I imagine.”[5] Thus, through the perception of this representation, the objects surrounding the artist’s body and with which she composes her cosmology, affect the utopia of our own body, in its memory of territories that have been traveled or merely imagined.

With Wuttke, the return to the original values of art and life makes us stop and reflect on a world where speed is increasing. The physical and immaterial intensity finds herein its depth as well as its relief and a place to rest. The artist’s statements feeds us, troubles us, and soothes us. And is this not the very definition of passion? Join us then in a proud declaration so that passion does not become a luxury but rather a democracy of desire.



Elisa Ganivet

Art historian

PhD in Aesthetics

[1]   Baudelaire, C., Le peintre et la vie moderne, 1863.

[2]   Ibid.

[3]   Deleuze G., L´Anti-Oedipe et Mille plateaux, 1971.

[4]   Durkheim É., Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse, 1912.

[5]   Foucault M., Le corps utopique, 1966.