MIMICRY 01

Digital C-prints, diasec, 90x96 each, video projection in a loop, sound installation, 2009 Paula Muhr

"To play with mimesis is thus, for a woman, to try to recover the place of her exploitation by discourse, without allowing herself simply to be reduced to it. It means to resubmit herself - inasmuch as she is on the side of "perceptible", of "matter" - to "ideas", in particular to ideas about herself, that are elaborated in/by masculine logic, but so as to make "visible", by an act of playful repetition, what was supposed to remain invisible: the cover-up of a possible operation of the feminine in language. It also means to "unveil" the fact that, if women are such good mimics, it is because they are not simply reabsorbed into this function." /Luce Irigaray

"MIMICRY 01" is a multi-media installation combining photography, video, text and sound. The work is suspended between exploration of autobiographical narrative, and the analysis ideological structures that define one' relationship to oneself and to others. In the dual role of the producer and object of the images, I exercise precise control in audio-visual objectification of the subjective, autobiographical components.

Through changing images, I investigate my sense of identity as a construct based on underlying cultural practices and prevalent concepts of female beauty. What at first may seem as a spectacle of narcissism, is in fact an analysis of effects of media images with which I intuitively identify. In this sense, the work deals with gender identity and refers to consumer society's merchandising fetishism and neurotic fear of ageing. By consciously playing out and overreacting various models promoted by advertising promises of cosmetic industry, I ironically inverts gender construction. The series of carefully staged self-portraits produce a composite self-image, which may be explained in psychoanalytic as well as social terms.

The video loop presents an analysis of the gestures of applying the make-up, slowing the process down to the still image and bringing the viewer unpleasantly close to the fragmented face.

In the sound installation, quotes from the book "This Sex Which Is Not One" by the Belgian feminist Luce Irigaray are read in English by a thirteen-year-old girl. Since English is her mother tongue, she reads most parts very fluently, yet due to the fact that she is not familiar with certain terms and does not fully understand the content of the sentences, makes mistakes and thus estanges the text.