Angela Stiegler at Galerie Françoise Heitsch / Munich

Angela Stiegler / I treat my friends as sculptures

November 19 – January 29, 2021


Insister is the name Jacques Derrida gave to his long-time friend, dialogue partner, and echo chamber Hélène Cixous. She had some name for him too. They worked together and also wrote about each other, always mirroring the other’s work. You like to say that bohemistic research requires a similar background in a shared environment, within a specific individual diversity which is nevertheless built on a divided basis, similar problems, and similar challenging experiences, which have to be overcome or simply identified, to start with. Biographically speaking, this did apply to Derrida and Cixous. We often work with each other, less strongly about each other. 

I do always make those videos of you though, which we gladly call biopic, while neither of us really know what they’re meant to be. Something that does not seem to bother you at all. You have been working directly with your environment for a long time; maybe even as a kind of in-sister within a tight family network. The sister and the insister, the persister, the defender. The concept of struggle was ever-present in your work Anti Körper. Still, this struggle is not based on violence, but contact. And conflict is based on proximity, not unfamiliarity. This idea of struggle shaped the performance, which turned out distinctly physical; yet, it also influenced the various negotiation processes, which were crucial for the performance’s development during seven consecutive days. Struggle as contact. You protect and keep forms and meaning permeable, which should and will effectively find their place within the process, precisely because this place is not yet occupied. The Insistiererin, the Tiererin, the Tier, to open up, after Derrida, identity as a container. Through exchange with others, objects and practices will emerge. These often find their function in the next step, in dialogue, contact, or in transformations. The works evolve in a biotope together with their companions, which have no clearly defined or assigned roles. They never stand alone and are always looking for companionship. There is a molecular interest in these companions, in these friends, which in form of point clouds, on paper or set in soap, permeate the works as antibodies. 

Soap is not as toxic as epoxy resin, it is cheaper than polyurethane, it is transparent, it removes bacteria. It enters a fight. The disappearance, the decomposition, the silent aggressiveness of the soap causes fear. In this fear stand, barely moveable, eight kilos on their pedestals; they embody the struggle in object-form. They lead a silent independent life, which, indeed, contains the delicate colour particles, while these continue to exist in permanent uncontrollable flux. Thus, the pedestals actually embrace a process that is able to mask itself as an object only to some extent. The pedestals are an elevation and thus also become a superelevation of the idea of closure. Looked at it in that light, the soap does not have an aggregate state; its goal is to disappear through its usage. The intrinsic open-ended process can no longer be controlled despite all attempts at its fixation. Interventions and interferences of any sort would entail a fundamental change in the form. Personal relationship processes, which are equally difficult to control, become sculptures and actively insert themselves formatively into the work. Not only do you treat your friends as sculptures, they also intervene sculpturally in your work. Coming from their private spaces, the pedestals become carriers and support this new biotope. 

The works therefore also mark a place, physical and imaginary. A house is not necessarily a home, but these sculptures are also dwellings for friendships. Residenz and Reformhaus give these biotopes a space, a crumbly and bubbly home. 

Yulia Lokshina