Notes from the Studio / by Claire Mander

Cover of Exh. cat., Serial/Portable Classic: The Greek Canon and Its Mutation, Fondazione Prada, Milan, 2015

Cover of Exh. cat., Serial/Portable Classic: The Greek Canon and Its Mutation, Fondazione Prada, Milan, 2015

An air of seriousness and enquiring quietness encompass the studio.  It is filled with materials: plastic sheets, a smoke machine, water, boards of frigolite, large paper cut outs of body shapes.

Hanna, sitting by the table with a book in her hand, looks at me with a secretive smile - as a magician about to reveal something extraordinary. The book she is perusing is about classicism, or more precisely, Greek sculpture.

A gestural cut out

A gestural cut out

"Did you know that Chiswick House once received a bequest of one of these sculptural bodies?", she says pointing at a very perfectly shaped Greek sculpture in the book, noticeably with missing arms.  She explains that copy after copy of the original sculptures were made by the Greeks and then the Romans, each society reflecting the ideals of its era in the human forms. Hanna speaks about her interest in Classicism and how she wants to know more about  this 'everywhere-underlying' element in western culture.

"We all think we know something about classicism", she says, "but in fact we know very little. Many of these sculptures, including the ones in Chiswick House, have lost limbs because of refurbishments, moving, wars, or other unfortunate accidents.”

What are the missing limbs? Their gestures and meanings of the missing limbs intrigue Hanna... and me.

She explains that she is not intending to make yet another copy of the sculptures that were housed at Chiswick House. But she will with use materials that can float, be transparent, and move, reflect what was once there ... like with a whisper from the past the artist or, as I feel tempted to call her, 'magician' gets to work...

Respectfully and with the serious approach of a Nordic Artist she will let us wander around the Ionic Temple at Chiswick House and its beauteous grounds, letting the whispers of the past meet the present, and bring us into yet new wonders and questions of the wonderfully ghostly magical uncertainties of the future and its forever changing ideals.

 Let us all be quiet, so that we can hear our thoughts and give space to these enchanting whispers.

By Nina Wisnia