Aftermath 2094: Andreea Pislaru
What is your work about?
My sculpture is made from human hair and silicone and responds tothe post-apocalyptic phase of Liz Jensen’s novella, Our Silver City, 2094. The work explores the grotesque and its cultural associations with the flesh and the feminine through processes of deconstructing the body as a means of transgression. I use absurd humour to play with the biological structure of the human form by shifting conventional parameters. Imagining what a body could look like in the future, I sculpt new, reformulated identities.
What are you trying to communicate?
Hair is a powerful symbol of identity for both individuals and collectives, exploring the private and public simultaneously. I address the fragility of humankind and highlight hair symbolism and fetichism. I invite the viewer to make connections between the title and the shape of the work, as well as the texture.
Does your work link to, or are you inspired by any aspect of Our Silver City 2094?
The work is inspired by several aspects of the exhibition Our Silver City,2094, but also by one of our reading and discussion sessions in 2021. After reading part of The Stone Sky, N.K Jemison’s The Broken Earth trilogy, we talked about the idea of exploiting parts of the human body until their purpose was fulfilled, then used again until death. The notion that spent bodies can feed back into a system appeals to me, especially in a climate crisis context.
I also found by Liz Jensen’s novella Our Silver City, 2094 inspiring - in particular the descriptions of what happens to humanity after technology is erased. I have also been influenced by Vivian Lynn’s hairy sculpture in gallery 3, as well as the temple space itself created by Grace Ndiritu.
Describe your process of developing your work from ideas, through planning, to experiments and production.
My processes consists of collecting human hair, washing and felting it using traditional techniques, as well as gluing it together. The silicone part of the sculpture is created using casting processes. Initially, I made a sculpture out of polystyrene foam, covered it in water-based clay, plastic wrapping, and covered it again in oil-based clay. After building the model, I created a mould using alginate to capture the shape of the object. Next the broken mould is removed and the initial object from the inside. I then rebuild the shape using silicone. My processes involve working in layers and requires lots of patience.
What does it mean to you to make this work?
I have developed a professional level in my practice - I see it as stepping out of my comfort zone by engaging with a larger project. It is also an emotional process as I am working with actual body parts from other people. In making this work I am aware of the limits of my condition as a human being, but it also offers me a sense of hope about what we can do collectively.
What do you hope visitors will experience or take away?
I hope audiences will find a sense of familiarity in the work, by identifying with the hair and the skin-like texture. I aim to challenge what visitors consider a body can be, and to encourage visitors to imagine what a body might look like in the future. My hope is that audience see the absurd humour in my work and have a great time in the space.