Project 4

21 November 2017 – 1 January 2018

Stadtraum Vienna

Sofia Goscinski´s new works, which she is showing in the Stadtraum and in the unttld contemporary gallery, revolve around Frantz Fanon and his revolutionary theory of liberation. Fanon´s writings are both the starting point and food for thought for a series of works that transcend (post) colonial discourse.

The title of the show in Stadtraum cites Fanon´s first publications Peau noire, masques blancs (1952) with symbolic reversal. It is not the blacks who wear masks in order to assert themselves in the „white“ world, but vice versa. The double portrait Couple, from the Mask series, shows a white man and a white woman, who hide their faces behind black masks. The man is wearing a black penis prosthetic, a nod to Fanon´s reflections on the presumed „black phallic superiority“ and his repression by the white man as revenge for his sexual inferiority.  An alternative concept for the stereotyping of the „superior white reason“ as a justification for the subjugation of the „libidinal blacks“. This argument was also used to justify the „inferiority“ of women. In Goscinski´s work the tension between dominance and submission between man and woman unfolds as the man, deprived of his natural phallus and instead, equipped with a strap-on, appears inferior next to the imperious figure of his black-clad, female counterpart.

Opposite hangs an object made from linen, rubber and silicone – materials which also possess erotic connotations. Goscinski weaves the linen sheet with the rubber, whereby the fabric absorbs the silicone with which the rubber is treated and slowly yellows. The two materials combine, gradually merging with one another. The work places us in the position of direct observation of the process of amalgamation.

The work Les damnés cites in the title Fanon´s magnum opus Les damnés de la Terre (1962), in which he called for the violent revolt of the colonialised against their brutal enslavement by the colonial masters. Goscinski´s work shows a dissected rat lurking under a chair as a metaphor for the mass of the damned, who are subjected to oppression. At the same time, the rat is also symbolic of the possibility of a complete turnaround. The chair has a hole whereby, whoever should sit there, leaves his/ her genitals exposed to the rodent below. The rat, in this case, really „has you by your short and curlies“.

Sofia Goscinski does not focus on a specific discourse, but rather translates Fanon´s central theme of the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed, and the potential within for revolution on a psychological level. In her works she deals with power structures and balances, which largely remain unclarified. The situations remains in limbo, still in process or containing that rebellion, according to Fanon´s motto: „the last will be the first“.