Hair and nails
curated by Filipa Oliveira
with Adia Millett, Ângela Ferreira, Fernanda Fragateiro, Miriam Bäckström, Mona Hatoum, Narelle Jubelin, Susana Mendes Silva and Wangechi Mutu
A new approach to the visualisation of emptiness is also one of the fundamental strategies of Disorder created by Susana Mendes Silva's (Lisboa, 1972). The installation is formally constituted by a horizontal plan occupying the entire bathroom with straight lines, each set 4 cm apart from the other. The plan's height coincides with the artist's height, 163 cm, as noted in her identity card. The lines creating the plan are strands of dark brown hair attached to each other by very small knots thus materializing the distance from one wall to the other. In spite of its fragility, the plan field forbids the normal use of this room: it is an alien body.
The formal rigour of this work is opposed to a dimension of extreme delicacy. The artist evokes the universe of daily habits, be in the bathroom usages, or in tics associated with the hair. Any of the gestures evoked are imperceptible in our daily experience. Their existence is almost invisible, as they constitute an absolute normality. The presence of these strands is almost imperceptible, however revealing a performance of intimacy that converts the viewer, as soon as she/he is aware of their existence, into a transgressor of others' privacy. Each line multiplies the weaving of apparently common gestures, but the repetition and obsession that characterise this work, can, when analysed through a psychoanalyst approach, announce potential disturbances associated to silence and to the privacy of the feminine intimate universe.
Excerpt of the text "(Re)volving space and things"
by Filipa Oliveira in the catalogue (Re)Volver, p.25-26, 2006