For Art Basel Statements 2017, ChertLüdde exhibited a solo presentation by Zora Mann. The project, titled The Daughter of the Easter Egg, draws from Mann’s rich life experience – from her multicultural history to the start of a modelling career at a young age, which diverged after 11 years into an interest in studying and making art. Within the latter period of her modelling profession, her ongoing drug use sparked an episode of psychosis, as referenced in her book which is included in the installation.
The painting is a fragmented portrait. In the middle of the painting there lies a mandala of eyes, which stare expressionlessly in their multitude, signifying a state of heightened awareness. But sometimes seeing more does not make us more attuned to what we call reality, and seeing more fragments reality, leaving us with too many possible interpretations. When we are paranoid we tend to zoom in on our emotions or on influences from our environment. Instead of seeing more we become blind, seeing only up close instead of the whole picture. Here, the curtain bars the viewer from getting a full view of the painting and works as a mental filter, laying on top of our perception.
The hands on either side of the painting scroll the sky. The sun circles above and below the pink and yellow sunbeams, showing the mechanical passage of time.
The text The Daughter of the Easter Egg is a condensed sliver of the artist’s life and lays in the middle of a blank paperback book. It shortens a time of about ten years into 8 pages and recounts the downward spiral Mann felt pulling her into her first psychotic episode.
The project of writing this text came into being when in 2013, Mann was approached by a publishing house to write an autobiography. The text was the first imagined excerpt, a short reading sample of the future book. After much back and forth and a lengthy search for a co-author over a period of three years, Mann decided not to write the book. The blank pages tell the story of the unwritten book.
Zora Star Cahusac Mann was born in 1979 in Amersham, UK, to British parents who were born in Uganda and Kenya. She grew up between Europe, Africa and America – her parents were followers of the Rajneesh movement and led a constantly nomadic lifestyle. After relocating to Germany, at 13 Mann embarked on an international and prolific modelling career. After 11 years, she decided to pursue painting at the Academy of Contemporary Art and Research in Nice, France.
Photos by Andrea Rossetti