Thoughts On: Berlin Gallery Weekend (Part Four: Pamela Rosenkranz)
She Has No Mouth at Sprüth Magers, Oranienburger Strasse 18, Berlin
|Installation View from "She Has No Mouth" at Sprüth Magers|
Rosenkranz’s work looks at how various environmental factors have contributed our evolutionary development. She extrapolates on this topic in two ways: first by examining how the fashion and advertising industries have tapped into our biological responses and reactions in order to develop and sell their products; secondly, by flipping these responses and images back on their head and confronting us with the basis of our responses, divorced from a logical setting and distilled down to their very essence.
She Has No Mouth plays with light, scent and sound in order to explore our biological and evolutionary relationship to cats. In exploring this interlinked evolutionary history, Rosenkranz brings to light several slightly disconcerting facts. I was rather perturbed to learn that there is a neuro-parasite called Toxoplasmosis which breeds in cats but uses mice and humans as intermediatory hosts and can work to change your responses to cat pheromones in order to get you close enough to a cat for it to jump ship. Chanel no.5 uses a synthetic replica of that cat pheromone as a base and Rozenkranz had installed the scent within the gallery to compliment her other pieces.
The first aspect of She Has No Mouth that you encounter is a colossal circular blue light in a small room while the sound of feral-cats meowing emanates from a small black speaker on the floor. The light dominates the dark space, enveloping and embracing you, luring you in with it’s magnetic brilliance. This light has been designed by Rosenkranz in “High Noon Blue”, a colour specifically chosen with the intent to evoke a deep and uncontrollable evolutionary response from the human viewer.
|Installation View "She Has No Mouth" Sprüth Magers.|
The eleven paintings within the second room are a strange clash both visually and texturally. Rosenkranz first sourced images of cats and close-ups of fur patterns of cats through Google. She then painted a human-skin-like texture that she has developed within previous projects over the top. She uses this self-created process to highlight the evolution of our response to big-cat prints from primal history to modern-day interpretations. Where the recognition of these patterns would have elicited a fight-or-flight primal response from our ancestors, in a contemporary setting the patterns allude to dominance and overt sexuality. By painting the skin-like substance over the top of the prints, merging the skin and markings of these animals with our own skin, Rosenkranz adds another layer in the process of the evolution of our responses to these stimuli – indicating that in some ways the human and the cat have begun to become one.
For more information: https://frieze.com/article/pamela-rosenkranz