Janaina Tschäpe (Munich, Germany, 1973) uses photography and video to recreate a world that is a product of imagination where the concept of metamorphosis develops with breadth and depth revising mythological patterns. Born in Germany and raised in Sao Paulo, Tschäpe joins Brazilian Baroque with the German Romanticism of Goethe and Novalis in dialogue.
His production until now has been based on a variety of series where the artist takes the form of different characters -a clown, death, mutilated and disfigured body, mermaid, angel, devil and beast- producing on all of them a reflection on corporeality through fantasy. During the process numerous media from photography to video to drawing, sculpture, texts and installations are brought together. His aesthetic is reminiscent of a cinematic style in which the shared reality expands to make way for the emergence of the unconscious and dreamlike as happens in the cinema of Bergman, Fellini or Tarkovsky.
For this exhibition Tschäpe has created in Espacio Uno at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía a transit area where the visitor delves into participating in the progressive transformation of a woman into a different being. In the first room there is a letter where the artist writes to a doctor asking for their help and which describes the first symptoms of the transformation that she is going through. In the photographs and drawings that accompany the letter, two new members which are eventually shown to be wings attached to her body can be seen under the skin of her shoulder blades. The action of waiting for an unexpected transformation has such an importance that a space must be drawn around it, a Sala de Espera (Waiting Room); the title of the exhibition.
The psychological environment is completed by the three videos exhibited in the next room. They show, through different symbols, like the spider, the moon or curtains swaying to the rhythm of the breath of the new creature, the stifling length of time that determines the emergence of what is new and monstrous. The sounds are attached to the image by creating the gothic and nocturnal atmosphere of this dream-nightmare that has a history in Tschäpe’s work in the series He drowned in her eyes as she called him to follow and Anatomy. In these pieces the artist’s imagination focuses on the mutations that give rise to new cells, tissues and malformations as an indicator of intensive emotional states.