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'Fantastic Epiphany' by Malwine Stauss & Naiyun Yang at La Felce, Cologne

Fantastic Epiphany draws from the examination of the concept of Individual Mythology, a term defined by curator Harald Szeemann in the context of documenta 5 (1972). He describes it in the preface of the documenta catalog as "the field of subjective myth formation with the claim to general validity through pictorial formulation.” Individual Mythologies are artistically staged, fictional worlds that represent self-contained and controlled systems that follow their own laws. In the foreground, therefore, is always the creation of one's own narrative, one's own visual language, one's own "world view". The Individual Mythology can be drawn from various sources, which create a framework for generating a semantics of its own. For Fantastic Epiphany the artists Naiyun Yang and Malwine Stauss worked in close collaboration to create an overall installation which results from personal memories, dreams and the disclosure of inner states.
For Fantastic Epiphany, Naiyun Yang covers La Felce in darkness, placing us in a situation between dream and reality. The chirping of a bird is heard – in our collective memory marking the beginning of the day; but it is the nightjar that sings - a familiar sound for the artist and which accompanied her many nights. The nightjar is a rare bird species that finds itself displaced from its natural habitat by human interference and - as a result - disturbs humans in their sleep. In this Naiyun Yang refers to reciprocal relationships, such as those between day and night or humans and animals. The sound of the nightjar can also be understood as a reference to a dream world, an intermediate state between sleep and wakefulness. Naiyun Yang's previous installations have often been complemented, activated, or re-interpreted by performers. In the exhibition Fantastic Epiphany however, the visitors themselves become an integral part by activating Yang's light installation, which stretch across the walls in various formations, through their movements.

Malwine Stauss' ceramic sculptures always bring with them their own persona and presence. Often dressed in shiny armor of organic forms, they stand with a firm stance, hands on hips, always with an open gaze. Through their design, attributes and symbolism, they initially seem to make use of classical antagonistic structures, yet according to Stauss they also reflect various inner states of revelation and transformation. Like protagonists of contemporary myths, the figures present themselves and develop a life of their own within Naiyun Yang's staging, sometimes appearing, sometimes receding into the background, interacting with each other or quietly observing the events. What results is a space that forms a semantic framework, tells a story that is visualized through Stauss' figures and Naiyun Yang's installation.

— Amelie Gappa

28.4.23 — 28.5.23

Curated by Amelie Gappa

Photo by Dirk Rose

La Felce

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