Zora Mann
Being and Your Own Form
23 November 2018 – 2 February 2019

ChertLüdde is pleased to present Being and Your Own Form, the second solo exhibition of Zora Mann (b. 1979, Amersham, UK) at the gallery. Mann is exhibiting a new body of work consisting of paintings, sculptures and a collaborative installation with Øyvind Renberg.

Being and Your Own Form brings together the psychic and the spiritual with the physical and objective. In doing so, a holistic whole generates oppositions and contradictions just as much as harmony. Omnipresence and one’s own form are both located in space and determine it. Zora Mann’s works thematize the relational proportion of this whole with a focus on space, body and (formal) language. Thereby forms that are supposedly separate can be evinced as unifying elements of being.

“I contradict myself because I am big, I contradict myself because I contain all the opposites, because I am all.”(1)

The wooden shields are painted with acrylic and or oil in bright, at times gaudy, colors. They recall psychedelic dreams or pigments used in nature to entice or give warning. The shields’ forms have shifted from a structure originally used to protect the torso or the entire body to a more permeable, freer shape. This lends them a certain being-like quality because they now reveal an essence rather than conceal it. They expose the view of space and body, even focus; open new perspectives and produce relations. While the forms of her earlier works were borrowed from classic police shields—with closed forms and a demarcation of front and rear —the new shields attest to a diverse permeability. Handles, observation slits, and (in)definite forms suggest a functionality, but the performative act of constantly re-examining objects in a different way comes to the fore. The shields serve to protect, but more as a membrane or a filter, and thus as a mutual, conditional exchange.

The painting Preface depicts a shadowy face. The multi-layered application of color, as well as the individual elements of the image, reinforces the illusion of different planes. Jagged lines recall stairs nested inside one another. They float on the surface and crisscross round forms that depict eyes and oral cavities. The title Preface is quite ambiguous – literally interpreted as “pre-face”, it perhaps describes the aura as an invisible countenance that allows the body to be sensually experienced in space while nonetheless remaining inexplicable. As a foreword, it allows you to enter into a deeper narrative of tangible words, whereby here too the named and the signified always remain subjectively different.

In the gallery’s main room, visitors, in particular children, will be greeted by the collaborative work Haven (2), an installation created on the occasion of the book fair Friends With Books (2018) with the artist Øyvind Renberg and both artists’ mothers. At the heart of the installation is an accessible spiral ammonite staircase that invites you to climb. Eyes, textile felt fruits, beads, and animals, as well as geometric figures, can be recreated again and again to form a colorful and surreal image. Haven is a place of play that is permanently transformed through active participation.

Text by Imke Kannegießer


1 Walt Whitman, quoted in: Osho (1973), Vigyan Bhairav Tantra Vol. 2. Chapter 35, The search for the rhythm of the opposites, p. 464.

2 The Ammonite Staircase was originally produced with Miho Shimizu as a set piece for Shimizu and Renberg’s film, Möbius.

Zora Mann, “Shield 18, 19, 20”, 2018; Wood, acrylic and oil; 3 Shields each: 208 × 52 × 4 cm
Installation view
Zora Mann, “Anna”, 2017; Acrylic and oil on canvas; 200 × 130 cm
Zora Mann, Øyvind Renberg, “Haven”, 2018; Wood, paint, felt; produced in collaboration with the artists’ mothers; 283 × 260 × 372 cm
Zora Mann, “Untitled”, 2018; two hand made sofa-pillows; cloth, natural filling material, mint and roses; 39 × 73 × 110 cm each
left: Zora Mann, “Shield 14”, 2018; Wood, acrylic and oil; 102 × 50 × 4 cm; right: “Shield 17”, 2018; Wood, acrylic and oil; 162 × 62 × 6 cm

left: Zora Mann, “Preface”, 2018; Acrylic and oil; 200 × 150 cm; right: “Untitled”, 2018; Glazed ceramic, beads, string, fish weights; 44 × 23 × 3 cm
Zora Mann, “Shield 15”, 2018; Wood, acrylic and oil; 114 × 70 × 13 cm