January 18 till March 2, 2008
The title of Monika Stricker’s (*1978) exhibition “Wisteria” opens multiple chains of association; for one, to the scene of American cult TV series “Desperate Housewives” – a show in which the conspiracies, flirtations and occasionally eerie romantic lives of five miserable homemakers are played out on Wisteria Lane. It begins a sinister study of the secret inner lives behind the immaculate homes on Wisteria Lane.
The same can also be seen in Monika Stricker’s work: in a sculpture diverted through the use of polyester fabric. Here, the disruption, the subtle eroticism conveyed to the viewer undergoes a shift of emphasis in which the artistic gesture is withdrawn to make way for a mélange of visual impressions. Assonance in the word “wisteria” quickly reminds one of “histeria”. Hysteria (from the Greek hystera: womb) is used in psychology to denote a neurotic disorder. The word hysteria is ostensibly tied to gender-specific connotations, since hysteria was long understood as a condition occurring only in women – a psychological disorder caused by disease in the uterus. According to this perception, women suffering from hysteria were frequently characterized by certain personality traits (self-centered, egocentric, hypercritical, rash etc.).
The knotted curtain’s fabric motif shows a lasciviously drooping, coquette-eyed woman with a clubfoot, apparently being led away by the Grim Reaper. The devil is frequently shown (at least) with a clubfoot, appearing to human beings as seducer and confuser. The Grim Reaper here is bearing Eros, personified in the body of a woman, to the world of Thanatos. It is first with the transgression of taboos that a figure can transcend the ego. Ecstasy, the orgasm, is sought through the physical breaking of taboos and in the physical relinquishing of the self. Wisteria, a flowering vine, is a very robust climber and has a tendency overgrow every trellis. Because of its incredible growing power, the plant can damage the structure of a house so badly that repairs may be necessary.