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onone - continuo
world after the world (1995-1999) bibliography(english) bibliography(deutsch)

The Onone scenes with the blond-haired double-figure are titled Continuo. This means "I arrange in a series", "I gather together". "I connect", "I attach", "I set in a row", "I round off", "I continue without pause". That the verb continuare is in the first person singular in presence form is revealing. The titel refers to the artist's self, who, through this titel, points not only to the portrayed, but to the portrayer, as well. As in the other images, androgyny is one theme. The scenes also comment allegorically on the question of aesthetic production. This has a correlate in the long tradition of the phantasm of androgyny. Since the beginnings of modernity, that is, since the Romantic, the motif and the contents of androgyny have dissolved or shifted. In the century between Friedrich Schlegel's "Lucinde" and Robert Musil's "Vereinigungen" or Virginia Woolf's "Orlando", the question of physical androgyny has been more and more closely tied to the question of the hermaphroditic nature of the poetic and artistic process. Alicja Zebrowska's installations are concerned with this process, in that the artist portrays androgyny as the utopien, yet already travestized, location of the bisexual body. At the same time, she emphasizes the ambiguous, discontinuous, artificial, phantasmatic, no longer dual, but now polymorphous, ironic scintillation of the artistic process. For this reason, we must subject all installations to a doubled gaze, a doubled reading. In the decoded subject, the partrayed image, we must also recognize the structure, the portrayal. In this manner, Alicja Zebrowska realizes one of the unavoidable requirements of modernity, aesthetic reflexivity, which, thus, enters into the structure of her work.
In Continuo, the same acters as in Synchron and Sexfantilis are dressed, like the actress in Autoholos, in transparent body foils that leave only head and hands free. Oversized phalli and enlarged nipples stare from underneath the plastic sheet. The foil surrounds the bodies like a second skin grown too wide. Under the plastic skin, the natural surface and form of the silhouette cannot be seen clearly. In this manner, the foil visually dissolves the borders of the body. This effect is made stronger by the light reflexions on the plastic skin and by the silver underground and backround, which can barely be distinguished from the foil dress. The dissolution of borders is an effect of the Onone-Principle, of androgyny. Androgyny is this 'continuation over borders', a Continuo, a continuation and arranging in a row, a carrying on without interuption, a connecting and a bringing together. In this context, the light effects, which send strong beams onto the figures and the backround to create intense light reflexions, play a central role.
The skin is our largest organ. It delineates our border to the external world and is, at the same time, the medium of communication with this world through touch. Skin is also the medium through which fluids are secreted out of pores and the medium of injurious penetration. Alicja Zebrowska's hermaphrodites, whose transparent garments emphasize the aspect of transition, have become completely surface and skin. Not the continuous skin, one must add, but the mediating, membrane-like, porous, and reflecting skin. The artificialty of the plastic foil emphasizes the skin's function as a medium. The bodies may be sealed in plastic like meat in a supermarket, but, at the same time, this second skin presents and exhibits. It is a theatrical moment, one that creates visual transitions and extends borders. In each arrangement, the Onone figures take on the classical pose often depicted on pompous roman sarcophagi, in which the dead couple presents itself lying on its side, on behind the other, in the eternity of a nature morte. Here, one cannot tell whether the Onones make up one body or two. Silent and statue-like, they depict androgyny.

(Excerpt from A Journey into the Body and Beyond.by H. Bohme)

H. Bohme
Journey into the body. The art of Alicja Zebrowska