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 experiences – from her multicultural history to the start of a modeling career at a young age, which diverged after 11 years into an interest in studying and making art. Within the later period of her modeling profession, her drug use sparked an episode of psychosis, as referenced in her book which is included in the installation.
The hypersaturated painting is a fragmented portrait using acrylic and oil on canvas; at the center lies a mandala of eyes gazing toward the viewer. Mesmerizing and transfixed, the concentration of these eyes creates a feeling of vertigo. Obscuring the viewer’s understanding of depth, the cluster of eyes focuses inwards to create one large pupil. Around it, scalloped lines of pink and yellow sunbeams show the mechanical passage of time in a sunset of painted rays. Hands on either side of the painting scroll towards the sky while the sun circles the length of the painting.
Hung in a corner, the abstracted portrait opens into an installation one can step inside, propped open like a book. This view of the painting is barred by a curtain of beads that acts as a mental filter, blurring our perception before we step closer to the painting. This gentle sense of separation can be seen as both the filtered expression of the self as well as a camera filter – equally the way you choose to present yourself and how you are perceived by others. All together, the installation becomes a stage we settled into, with eye-shaped cushions reminding us we are the viewer.
The accompanying text by the same title is a condensed sliver of the artist’s life and lies 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. Referencing the extremes of observation the artist experienced as a model, the book states: “The cameras stare at me and flash like a thousand fly eyes”, a reference also to the immersive self-portrait’s painted eyes.