THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL : souziehaas at Mindpirates

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The artist souziehaas is a mysterious being. After attending the opening of her exhibition, The Eye Has to Travel, at Mindpirates Projektraum in Kreuzberg, Berlin, last night, I still know little of the artist behind the name. A quick google search yields few fragments of biographical information, which is perhaps fitting. The Eye Has to Travel is a portrait of the inner world of souziehaas; her fears and exhilarations. It is an over-the-top, theatrical display of femininity in its many ambiguities.

“In her work and her vibrant celebration of Camp, souziehaas explores the role of women and gender in society. Drawing from the ambiguity inherent in her own identity and body (Madonna or whore?), souziehaas challenges reductive categories not only in her artwork, but in every element of her life.”

souziehaas 04This is not the type of work I am usually drawn to; fluorescent, garish and somewhat crude. Self-exposure is a core concern for souziehaas, and the gallery is filled with complex and obscure autobiographical references. Each piece is highly worked, and arranged with intense accuracy. The hand written proclamations and hand stitched banners remind me very much of the work of Tracey Emin.

From a pile of plastic bones, each meticulously stitched into it’s own, perfectly fitting lycra suit, to the objects and large scale posters covered entirely in sellotape, souziehaas reveals her time consuming production methods. The patience involved in such a way of working is inherently feminine in it’s nature, and each work is incredibly tactile.

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The gallery is full, every inch taken over by the essence of souziehaas. Spidery curtains in front of electric fans blow the scent of Dior perfume through the neon glow, whilst fake and living flowers add to the bombardment of colours and textures that saturate the exhibition space. As the press release promises, we certainly are ‘immersed in her cosmos’.

The exhibition as a whole is too much for me, too loud and overworked. A single tapestry, however, a small framed image of a tiny baby- purple blue and screaming, is startlingly moving. Above the tapestry read the words ‘if it moves kiss it’. The flamboyance and showiness of the whole exhibition makes this small tapestry all the more resonant and sensual.

The Eye Has to Travel runs from now until Sunday, August 3rd at Mindpirates, Berlin and is certainly worth a visit, if just for the screaming baby at the heart of it all.

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