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'Felt Cute' by Anaïs Goupy at ASPN Gallery, Leipzig

What is a warrior? If we believe their representations in current media reports, warriors act out of necessity, not pleasure. Almost godlike, their heroic devotion to a cause knows no doubt, nor do they fear the risk of death. How could we understand what they truly are, or the world that made them, when it is so far removed from ours? Would our asking even threaten the success of their mission?

In this sense, Anaïs Goupy’s Lilith, the hologram of a warrior goddess asking us about our desires, is a paradox construct, as she risks her own fortitude for the sake of dialogue and individual satisfaction. On the one hand, her military attire is not a contradiction to her inviting gestures, if we consider that female seduction has been a warfare strategy since the dawn of time. On the other, a warrior devoted to the realms of desire, if not a mere fetish, might threaten the common logic of victory and defeat inherent to the capitalist military complex after all, as her primary interests are neither truth nor power, but a playful exchange of means. As such, her performance is erotic and stoic at the same time, following a simulation of human behavior with clichéd patterns of lasciviousness. Despite her machinic origin, however, we cannot help but feel that her gaze faces off ours with tender strength, a fortitude of a different kind that produces its own set of vulnerabilities and defense mechanisms. In her artificial conception of self lies an entire history and future of gendered transactions waiting to be continued in environments in need of exploration.

Next to her we see paintings of distorted female bodies, filters gone mad maybe, or glitches in the code. Resulting from both, digital and manual processes, those images titled Kim, Megan, Kyle, Lil, Britney and Bella, much like Lilith, visually oscillate between the human form and its algorithmic fragmentation. They simultaneously refer to and yet dissociate from their origins in celebrity and influencer culture. Evoking feelings of uncertainty they could be described as opaque landscapes that consist of particles of the real, which have been morphed by machine and human hand into new concepts of reality. As such, they occupy a space between the real and the hyperreal. Their world is, too, something known and foreign to us, as it bears the potentialities of likeness and difference.

What is a warrior? If we do not believe their representations in current media reports, we could ask about their indulgences and pleasures. Unlike gods their devotion to a cause might then be less foreign to us, as they most certainly know doubt and fear death. If we would aim to understand their worlds, how would we achieve that? Could Lilith, Kim, Megan, Kyle, Lil, Britney and Bella help us with that? Possibly not. But their realities could support our asking. 

— Anne Breimaier

18.3.22 — 2.4.22

Photo by Stefan Fischer

ASPN Gallery

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