The far away spirit and the creaturely now, 2016

In an increasingly technological world – as a notion well solidified in Western societies and one that creeps steadily across all lands – where human focus is placed on intellect, individualism and achievement, how do we know that we still exist as bodies? By contrast to the predominant wave of disconnected living, at a time when considered presentation of a life takes precedence to the actual experience of that life, artist Helena Eflerová lives instead in a consistently receptive and sensitive dialogue with the earth upon which she treads. In return for Eflerová’s devoted consideration of others and for our shared environment, the universe supports and illuminates her artistic communication. Using a combination of performance, photography, video, participatory sculpture and dance the artist exposes her body in its most primal state, sensing and presenting the world through the miraculously given tools of touch, sound and belief.

 

Eflerová’s early performative video works including Happy Days (2005-2006) and T-Land (2004-2009) both powerfully recall the work of Cuban born American artist, Ana Mendieta. Whilst Eflerová sits naked encircling herself with clay coils determinedly fingering the material to ensure that it binds together, in 1976 Mendieta stands resolutely staring out at the viewer as transformed to become an earth mudded tree. Both artists dissolve into the fabric of their surroundings and both seem at once stilled and unsettled by becoming nature rather than, as is typical, living alongside it. Eflerová makes the notion of ‘revisiting’ the womb, or of returning to an earlier state of being more explicit as her creation becomes an obvious protective cocoon. Once fully encased in the hive-like structure a small hole is made and the artist feeds out a clay umbilical cord made from within. Using repeated animal symbolism, watching Eflerová emerge from her self-created uterus is more like watching a chick peck its way from an egg than watching a human being born. Interestingly, she reveals that our behaviour is much more creaturely than many choose to acknowledge, and in this way reminds me of my reflective young son’s comments when he says, ‘I want to be a bird’...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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