The Cabinet of Curiosities: combining reason and eroticism. / Nina Staehli

The Cabinet of Curiosities: combining reason and eroticism.

Nina Staehli

5 June - 28 August 2022

The Wunderkammer, or Cabinet of Curiosities, that the MACT/CACT dedicates to Nina Staehli (1961) is a little island of happiness that unfolds inside a cubic room. The island is happy because ideas thrive there and the garden is one of delight.

Déjà vu. The relationship between rationality and body becomes conscious at the very moment when reason mutates into awareness and the flesh translates into the locus of primitive – sometimes violent – pulsations. It is into this fundamentally cerebral and more than reasonable geography of meetings between the pleasant and the prohibited, between the licit and the illicit, between the moral and the immoral, between freedom and transvestitism balanced on a knife-edge between true and real, that the rhetorical, religious moralism is insinuated that confirms the times of law-making and of Dickens’ interminable cases of litigation: the mirror of a society grown decadent, a society of vanities and of excess… of moralism, of the populist obsession with a semblance of justice, of democracy at whatever price, of consumption and of an imposed political correctness that leaves us in permanent humanitarian (im)balance.

While war – a sado-masochistic practice geared to domination – is often invoked to re-establish “morals”, we find that the relationship between war and sexuality, or that between art and power and so on, remains one of the many aspects that artists often tackle anthropologically in their process of artistic construction.

Mario Casanova, 2022.
Translation by Pete Kercher

Ph MACT/CACT-Patricia Jacomella Bonola



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