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'Marzanna, Yours Again' by Zoe Paul and Faye Wei Wei at Hot Wheels Projects, Athens

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Faye Wei Wei, Feste / Cupid, 2017
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Zoe Paul, Air Conditioning is Destiny, 2016
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Zoe Paul, oii, 2016
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Zoe Paul, aiai, 2016
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Zoe Paul, au, 2016

Spring is drawing near,
winter does not want to leave, the freezing nights linger, snowing gently still.

Marzanna, Marzanna, you winter mistress, today we will drown you, to put an end to winter.

Drift away with the ice, far away to the sea, let it finally come to us- buxom spring.

(Translated from a Polish children’s song, Marzanna)

At the end of winter, children gather to drown the Marzanna in the closest lake, marking the beginning of a new spring. Marzanna dolls, representative of the Baltic and Slavic goddess associated with seasonal rites, are created only to be destroyed. Part of a folk tradition that has stood the test of time, communities in Eastern Europe come together on the first day of spring to create their own effigy.

The dolls are collectively woven out of straw, adorned in white cloth, ribbons, necklaces, flowers, pine cones, branches and twine. Comparably, the clay beads in Zoe Paul’s bead curtains are hand- rolled in groups, bringing people together in a traditional and meditative process. The harnessing of age-old materials and techniques is propelled in the stages that follow; dipping, drenching and sinking the Marzanna, firing, threading and hanging the beads. Marzanna has become a malleable symbol; freed from her historical and sacred significance, she is a vessel for expressing personal mythologies and an embodiment of new beginnings. The annual remaking of the doll is mirrored in Faye Wei Wei’s reconditioning of motifs; on the one hand, unwaning and recurrent, on the other, novel and transformed. The ghastly baba jaga witch figure and the fanciful princesses and knights are drawn from the same medieval-cum-fantastical sphere, redevised and personalized by their creators.

The works of Paul and Wei Wei engage with the visual weaving of their own individual narratives. Their work references both practical and visual histories, developing a language that combines the then and the now. Within the gallery, these dialogues are instigated but not settled. Paul’s ceramic heads are placed precariously around the space, suspended at great heights to sing out their wordless dialogue; aiai, oi, au, ea. Metaphorically reverberating through the space, the sounds linger, ricocheting off of Wei Wei’s jesters, sea urchins, monarchs and snakes. The figures float on the canvas, the surface reminiscent of a body of water where images resurface and reappear from uncertain depths. The Marzanna is led through the town, marching towards her inevitable descent.

When these narratives are unwoven, and the Marzanna drowned, only traces of symbols remain to guide an exploration.

16.1.18 — 11.2.18

Hot Wheels Projects

'Thundercage 31' by Matthias Odin and Valentin Begarin at Thunder Cage, Aubervill

'Brown Carpet' by Harley Kuyck-Cohen at Slugtown, Newcastle

'Big Pie' by Anna Taganzeva-Kobzeva at devyatnadtsat gallery, Moscow

'The Remains of Genetic Salon' by Bobby Yu Shuk Pui at Podium, Oslo

'Ultra-gentle manipulation of delicate structures' by Alicia Adamerovich at Proje

'Unfollow you, dark doom, honey' by Nika Temeeva at Spas Setun, Moscow

'NOCLIPLILT' by Rolf Nowotny 
at Simian
, Copenhagen

'Sombre Dimanche' by Julie Béna at Longtermhandstand, Budapest

'ANIMA MUNDI' by Gwen and Ernest Gachet at 13 Vitrine, Prilly

'Through Puberty to Success', Group Show at Shore, Vienna

'Ominous Tales of a Dreaming Wrinkle', Group Show at Scherben, Berlin

‘PO RA’ by Stasia Grishina and Anton Andrienko at IP Vinogradov, Moscow

'The Hierarchy of Lows' by Laura Gozlan at Les Bains-Douches, Alençon

'I heard myself close my eyes, then open them', Group Show at BRAUNSFELDER, Colog

'The Eye, the Hands, the Lunacy of Lunar Sightings' by Monia Ben Hamouda at jevou

'Penumbra' by Sarah Księska at Ramiken, New York

'Neuzeit Grotesk', Group Show Curated by Camila McHugh at Gunia Nowik Gallery, Wa

'not before it has forgotten you' by Group Show at NıCOLETTı, London

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