MARTIN MAELLER SOFT SORROW: ON PRIVATE MOURNING, QUEER GRIEF, AND IMMORTALIZED DEATH
Martin Maeller’s latest show “Soft Sorrow” is now on view at House of the Lords of Kunštát, Brno.
Whatever happened to the mystery of Death? It seems I’m searching in all the wrong places. Diving deep into collective reminiscences and popular imagination. Walking through the great sand covered tombs with gilded sarcophaguses, digging through frozen soil and excavating skeletal remains of long evaporated souls. Casually strolling through old, oh, so outdated natural history museums with artificially recreated pillars, architraves, friezes and cornices, I’m trying to grasp the mythical promises of life eternal. Tutankhamun’s glory, based solely on the riches of his elaborate burial site; Sha-Amun-em-su, the “Songstress of the Sanctuary of Amun”, engulfed in the fire of the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro; Ötzi, the Tyrolean Iceman, found in the snowy mountaintops of high Alps, with an arrow in his side, famed as an argument of one psychologist to prove that our ancestors lived in constant conflict.
How to deal with the elusive nature of Death? Does it belong to the soft embrace of the soil? Do you engage in a game of chess with the Grim Reaper? Do you hide under the veil of invisibility? Do you transfer your consciousness to a complex quantum processor, so it can be one day bestowed on to another corporeal form?
I find myself utterly lost in vague, yet premeditated attempts to localize such an eternal, ungraspable entity. Only symbols are left to toy with. A canopy, a gravestone, a tomb. All so simple, yet marvelous in its ingrained obviousness. Yet, all those are but tokens of the strayed search.
The only thing that remains tangible is sorrow aimed at those who passed away. Painful, piercing sensation which only Time, that fleeting slippery trickster can heal.
“Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, took other counsel.
Straightway she cast into the wine of which they were drinking a drug
to quiet all pain and strife, and bring forgetfulness of every ill.”
text by Jen Kratochvil
G99 / House of the Lords of Kunštát, Brno
8. 12. 2021 – 23. 1. 2022
Photo Credits: Jan Kolský