Loboda's Beasts at the Reina Sofia
#photography & visual arts
no-image, Loboda's Beasts at the Reina Sofia
Elusive interdisciplinary artist Maria Loboda presents her work The Beasts this autumn at the Reina Sofia Museum of Contemporary Art in Madrid
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María Loboda, 'The Beasts' (detail), 2013, photo: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Beneath Maria Loboda’s sinister-sounding title The Beasts lies an experiment in shifting the contextualization of objects in our surroundings to bring out their mystical and mythological implications. The artist does not hide that her Beasts are meant to create a dark, powerful impression, in keeping with the theme of the Reina Sofia exhibition, Fisuras / Cracks. In an interview with Turn On Art, she explains how a viewer should approach her creations:
I want the work to be poetry rather than political science. A lot of my works are about certain people I´ve met and their way of behaving towards themselves and others, and a lot is explained in the titles. I prefer the darkness, the unresolved chord, the problem of evil, elements and people with unusual properties, nervousness, satanic pride. All things which are human, but not easy. My work is also about trying to achieve balance, and balance doesn't mean harmony.
This idea of disharmonious balance is easily seen in Loboda’s subtle shifting of familiar sights. In Her Artillery, an iconic lion from the Parisian Porte Dorée is ostensibly facing the wall instead of the spectator, simultaneously remindful of a punished child and of a wounded beast. The animal presence in the exhibition is ubiquitous, yet the associations leaving no doubt as to the real subject. The Houses Are All Gone Under the Sea incorporates ancient Egyptian depictions of crustaceans into supporting stones of an old hospital in order to pun on the dual significance of the word cancer. Similarly, The Vanishing presents a simple but disquieting image of a falconer’s gauntlet without a falcon; the predator has flown away never to return. In the press release we are told that:
The Beasts points to culture as a precarious entity that does not spring from the earth but rather from our defenses against it.
Kraków-born Loboda has consistently drawn from symbolic connotations of all eras since her fine art studies at the Städelschule art academy in Frankfurt am Main. She has subsequently worked as visiting artist at NYU, and currently works in London and Berlin.
Sources: press materials, Turn On Art, edited by LB, 24/09/2013