Victoria Adam: the common toad
Temporary Gallery, Cologne, Germany
'...In her solo exhibition "the common toad", Victoria Adam sensitively and urgently evokes the intensity, beauty and the dread of a lost world of the senses, the sensual power of creatures, plants, blossoms, fragrances and exhalations associated with the mysterious origins and metamorphoses of the microcosm and macrocosm. The receptions of these sensory impressions, which the attempts to objectify scientifically only began in the 18th century, previously traversed medieval mysticism's and cosmology's cultural models as well as the chains and hierarchies that were produced by Theophrastus von Hohenheim, known as Paracelsus, Hildegard of Bingen and many other advocates of an alternative medicine.
With the assistance of her space and body-related object language of her work, Adam not only produces substantial references to effect aesthetics of the past but also takes a path beyond contemporary sculptural strategies with her selection of simple materials, their processing and the sensually energetic interaction in the exhibition space. In the process, the common toad is an unseen but nonetheless constant protagonist. The signature alchemistic teaching concerning the linking the planets to certain metals, precious stones and plants resonate in a scenario encompassing shimmering crystal grottos under hairy moons where toads or wild men dwell, of oversized ears of wheat that sway in the wind and whose soft sounds might recall Aeneas's golden bough, and of floral potpourris with glass balls that exude the fragrance of ethereal oils and essences. Victoria Adam conveys a thinking and experience space over each and every one of her fragile artistic works that not only demands that the visitor knows something about ancient mythologies, cosmologies and symbols but in return also offers him a sensual and emotional access into dealings with the world: "Perhaps we should make much more use of description of the way things look, sound, feel, smell, taste and so on - drawing on the realm of bodily experiences - simply for heuristic purposes, to remind readers that most of our material is taken from the world of non-explicit expert practice and does not only come from linear, linguistic thought." (Maurice E. F. Bloch, How We Think They Think. Anthropological Approaches to Cognition, Memory and Literacy. Boulder, Colorado, 1998).
Victoria Adam, Untitled (non-greasy ♥ Psychic abilities ♥ Spirituality ♥ Transition), 2017
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