wings

Images by Daniel Jarosch

2020. feathers, wax on velvet. 30 × 30 cm each
2020. feathers on bed. 90 × 40 x 200 cm


This work evokes a memory or association. In the practice of the psychoanalyst Kirkland Vaughan in New York – which I only know from film footage –, there is a work of art that critically examines colonial rule and the ongoing traumatizing history of racism in the USA. Some typical burst cotton fruit knots from which the white wool emerges are placed behind glass in a series of perhaps 4 × 4. Judith Klemenc shows a bed strewn with feathers. Primal scene of production, shaken by something violent that we do not see. But a process, at any rate, in which feathers were left behind. Some of these feathers – 3 × 3 = 9 – are individually captured and placed behind a frame. The new muses. Captured. Exhibited. Separated from each other. Who has ever seen a single feather fly – a feather falls. But feathers, in their combination, in their interaction, in a complex assemblage of a wing, can fly. The beauty of the individual muse and the shattering of the individual fate (of an oppressed woman, an enslaved human being etc.) stand in a tense relationship to the many. How can we ever see them, see them fully, in all facets, in all dimensions, in everything that makes them up, in all their vulnerability and strength?

Elisabeth Schäfer