Andrea Éva Győri
29 April – 17 June 2018
Curator: Roos Gortzak
In the flames she learns to understand her new gravity. Her new balance. Her new body. The connection to a specific femininity – a natural maternal capacity – is transformed through the loss of her breasts. In turn, within a natural adjustment of balance, her genitals enhanced in strength and intensity. Those visible on the outside a bright marker of her burning renewal. Those on the inside exhilarated with new found authority. She is standing in her fire.*
Győri’s practice is marked by an in-depth examination into the human body and mind. What do we know about our bodies? What do we share? In 2012, the artist started a shower tour, asking people for a possibility to shower in their place as she didn’t have a shower in her own flat. As a reward, the shower host could document her showering. For the last Manifesta in 2016, she teamed up with a sex therapist, with whom she explored the female orgasm. "I am especially interested in the female orgasm", the artist writes in her recent publication Vibration Highway, "because I think this is a means to get deeper into the question of how the mind affects the body and our behaviour". After having set up an intimate atmosphere of honesty, trust and fun, Andrea Éva Győri made drawings of masturbating women, who came to her space to share their sexual fantasies and experiences with masturbation.
Touching upon themes that are often left untouched, Győri pleads for a breaking down of taboos and a pushing of the invisible boundaries between public and private. Topics like well-being, health, mental and physical diseases run through her practice. Phobia of viruses and cancer formed the departing point for a series of works in 2013: Boob Job Nike: A Monument to the Heroes of Warsaw and Fear of the Breast 1-18 Analysis. In the first, Győri gave a statue of Nike in Warsaw a breast enlargement as a symbol of success and advantage, but also implanted a breast illness – implying that people in our societies suffer from both. The second is a series of drawings of breasts contaminated by yellowish and sticky body bulbs. These works were made long before she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017.
For her exhibition at Vleeshal, Győri developed a series of drawings, sculptures and videos that offer an openhearted insight into how she handles cancer. In one of the new videos, we see how she prepares herself the night before the double mastectomy, training her mind in a ritual with her mother, to accept and direct the body to a new future. A future in which female chests can take on totally new forms and femininity can flourish.
* from a text co-authored by Andrea Éva Győri and Huib Haye van der Werf
Behind the scenes
This project was made possible by the generous support the Mondriaan Fund and the municipality of Middelburg.