Untitled - by Kader Attia
       
     
Untitled - by Kader Attia
       
     
Untitled - by Kader Attia

On the lines of a subversion of aesthetic categories, a headless statue, copy and variation of the Capitoline Venus, is the territory on which to start a new identity, the conceptual space that defines the feminine image. A cement brick, aesthetic tradition of a ritual Dogon mask, becomes the head of the new Venus. The western golden canon of the feminine body enriches of a powerful speculative instrument of animistic origin. The new modernist head puts in synergy ancient and contemporary, feminine and masculine, political body and social thought. 

Keyword: paganism – animism

The original mask from which the artist takes inspiration sinks its roots in the mythology and cosmogony of Dogon, most probably a historic residue of ancient Egypt as numerous sacred connections testimony: from the feast every 60 years correlated to the orbit of the astral binary system Sirius (sigui tolo in Dogon language) to numerology, up to the knowledge of some astronomical phenomena. The geometric implant of some masks may refer to the spirit of ancestors but also to that of animals and even the architecture of the Dogon granary as physical and material space that conserves the necessary nourishment to human life. The convergence of paganism (the Capitoline Venus) and animism (the mask inspired to the Sigui) is astral: in ancient culture, the planet Venus and the stars of the Sirius system are the quintessence of the cosmic and sacred feminine. Within the monotheistic system, to the sacrality of female body (object of the masculine control on sexuality and fertility) does not correspond a women management of the sacred: the key rituals, the religious decisions, the position of power are firmly in male hands. On the contrary, the Greek and Roman tradition, rooted within the ancient near eastern heritage, shows us a different perspective on female body: the hieros gamos ratify the union between the social body and the cosmos. 

Several paradoxes are build around the contemporary feminine body: suspended between conquered liberties in western democracies (but at a cost) and suffered privations (always at a cost) in the Islamic teocracies, the body of the woman seems the frontier suspended between human and inhuman. How can we solve this problem? A first answer comes from Nilüfer Göle “L’aspiration à une société égalitaire et démocratique a pour conséquence l’effacement des frontières entre hommes et femmes, jeunes et vieux, nature et culture. Les certitudes religieuses et culturelles assises sur les frontères naturelles (géographiques, biologiques) sont ébranlées”. 

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