Mother Earth Sister Moon within the exhibition The Splendour of Textiles
This collaborative project between Joanna Malinowska and Christian Tomaszewski was originally commissioned by Performa’09 and later presented at Nottingham Contemporary. The project explores how the future was imagined under the Communist regimes of the former Soviet Bloc by investigations through the lenses of architecture, music, fashion and style. The project also incorporates other elements related to a diverse range of Eastern Block phenomena, including the Soviet space program, sci-fi film and literature, and a journey to the site of the mysterious 1908 explosion over the Tunguska River Valley in central Siberia.
The research concerning these various elements manifests itself as a giant reconstruction of the suit worn by the first woman in space, Russian astronaut Valentina Tereshkova. This suit pays tribute to the sculpture Hon-en Katedral, an enormous female figure conceived by Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1966. Visitors to the original incarnation of Mother Earth Sister Moon were invited to walk inside the giant sculpture and witness a fashion show featuring both reconstructions and reinterpretations of designs that evoke the Soviet space program and unique aesthetics of Eastern European science-fiction. The performance was accompanied by the music of Japanese composer Masami Tomihisa.
The presentation at the Zachęta – National Gallery of Art is somewhat different from the previous incarnations and considered the final unveiling of this project. The work retains its original core element of the live show as a curated fashion/design exhibition in motion, but the monumental space suit is this time pushed aside as a garment no longer needed. The exhibition also features two sets of 24 film and culture oriented magazines that were published in Poland throughout the decades proceeding collapse of the Eastern Bloc, and while they may initially appear identical, Tomaszewski has altered them. Focusing mostly in the realm of cinema, the work examines how Eastern European science fiction stood out in comparison to its Western counterpart, how it fueled the dreams of the future, how it was used to spread Marxist propaganda, and how it was later used as a tool of anti-government expression. In addition to the magazines, a set of industrial fans circulate occasional random trash throughout the gallery. The final presentation also includes a new soundtrack compiling archival recordings of the 1980s alternative band Biała Trumienka Dla Dziecka among other found bits and pieces.
Zacheta National Gallery of Art