OSSARIUM ROSÉ Sala do Veado, 6 July – 6 August 2005
The Installation Ossarium Rosé contains a challenging ambivalence in its title, fusing archeological redundances, decay and a clear reference to death with an unexpected sensuality, suggested by soft textures and an omnipresent pink colour.
By using the only remaining showcase that survived the fire that destroyed the Natural History Museum in 1978, Christoph Zellweger's installation refers to the tradition of the Museum archive, where the unwritten memory of objects is stored. Bones are reminders of the living; their morphology tells stories that are essential for the construction of meaning. This evidence is explored through the display of some hundreds bone-like pieces, which are all covered with a second skin of pinkish velvet.
The artefacts, displayed under cold light and orderly classified inside the showcase, deal with the topics of an unavoidable mediated view on nature. Behind the glass, the collection acquires scientific value, the solemnity of the reliquia, or the preciousness of a collector’s artpiece.
On a second glance, sharper and more critical, these enigmatic objects, seductive and repulsive at the same time, start to raise questions. The disturbing niceness of their velvety surface mimetizes the morbidity of flesh or skin; the natural shapes of some bones appear to have been altered in order to be transformed into new ones of imaginary function. This way, each individual piece triggers off reflections on the tension between the original and the fake, the natural and the made, the constructed and the grown.
In context of today’s increasing manipulation of all nature, through for example medical and scientific progress, Ossarium Rosé focuses on the status of the human body, where the compromise between ethics and aesthetics becomes crucial. Like in Foreign Bodies, Zellweger's work in medical steel, every single piece of the installation becomes a corner-stone, a fossile from the future, that tells about the estrangement and fragility of the contemporary individual.
1. OSSARIUM ROSÉ
2. BREATH PIECE
Second hand medical breathing devices, silver
3 FOREIGN BODIES
Hip Piece, 2002
Second hand medical implants, steel, leather