Georgina Starr – The Lesson
Georgina Starr, in conversation with Dominic Paterson in 2015, described very precisely the making of the pink material bubble forms as if they were an erotic-ritualistic metamorphosis: “The material has to be prepared in a particular way. You need 3 or 4 pieces in your mouth to make one bubble. These are broken down with teeth, tongue and saliva. The tongue pushes and presses the material into shape. As the hard material mixes and warms up it becomes soft and sugar oozes from it. Gradually the sugar seeps out (is swallowed) and after a few more minutes of chewing the material is ready to be used. The tongue forms the material into a spherical shape and then pushes into its middle. The material forms a thin membrane around the tongue and the tongue pushes a little out of the mouth. Then, simultaneously the tongue pulls back quickly and with an inhalation, and slow exhalation through pursed lips the bubble is created.”
The Lesson, Georgina Starr’s solo show at Pinksummer Goes to Rome, focuses on the idea of re-education as re-birth. By meditating on the spherical form exposed as a ritual, the artist probes the causal mechanism of procreation. Like Peter Sloterdijk, Georgina Starr is concerned with spheres, globes and bubbles and the intrauterine world connected to womb imagery, but her connection has more to do with his work on self empowerment. We could mimic Sloterdijk’s writing style by asking ourselves what does Georgina Starr have in common with Nietzsche, who discovered the value of praxis by reinterpreting metaphysics in terms of power and practice or what does Starr have in common with a yogi. What they all have in common is having applied the working anthropotechnical nucleus of human nature as if there was no religion, but instead an interpreted spiritual practice. To quote Sloterdijk: “I define practice here as any operation which preserves or increases the qualifications of the agent to conduct the same operation once again, regardless of whether it is declared as practice or not.”
Georgina Starr’s work is exquisitely political and most definitely feminist. Her work creates an ‘environmental bubble’, similar to the one theorized by Daniel J. Boorstin who considered the typical behavior of the tourist, who, in order to preserve their own identity from any undesired contaminations of strange environments, carries with them familiar objects so as to feel at home while traveling. Georgina Starr is not a tourist but an artist. She invents and constructs these imagined objects in order to breath life into the things she dreams to hold. Junior the nobject puppet, which was the focus of Georgina Starr’s last solo show at pinksummer, The Joyful Mysteries of Junior, is one such symbolic creature.
The bubble in Starr’s work is fluid and adaptable, it can be extended, contracted and deformed without losing its plastic features which are both meaningfully round and feminine. While temporarily filled with breath the bubble presents a soft, ductile and comfortable world, that, although momentary, protects and nurtures. As Starr claims, her ‘bubble’ is similar to the spoken word; it has an ephemeral duration and because of this escapes any attempt of dogmatization. Starr’s pink material forms, which appear throughout the exhibition, can be understood as logos, their delicate acrobatic corporeity making them logos undistinguished from the living body.
Starr’s new body of work suggests a type of entelechy, an Aristotelian term used here in an empiricist and Goethian sense. Entelechy proposes an eternal youth by opposing itself to matter and its enslavement to any Ahrimanic double that gets in its way. Indeed, Starr’s work seems to have exited the ‘pars destruens’ to enter the practical (performative) and ‘self empowerment’ phase of The Lesson. If re-education and re-birth implies a crossing, we can guarantee, going back to Goethe and Faust in particular, that the diaphragmatic region between the sensitive and the supersensitive of ‘The Realm of the Mothers’, has been explored far and wide by Georgina Starr. “The mothers! The Mothers! How strange that sounds”, says Mephistopheles, “It is with reluctance that I disclose the higher mystery”.
Georgina Starr has emphasized that, since the beginning, her work has re-invented and re-imagined female identity: to challenge the doctrines she absorbed in her childhood. Starr uses her videos to re-educate. They document that something imperative and magical, even though very subtle in its nature, has occurred.
The bubble forms presented in new video works The Lesson and The Birth of Sculpture and in the collages and sculptures Pink Spoken Loud (2016) and Exorcism of the Luna Milk Orb (2015), offer a sense of “wombness” : a space for cultivating transformation and healing. Starr’s ‘lesson’ reveals the foundation of creativity as an intimate resource while recalling the eternal feminine and the cosmic ritual of perpetual anasyrma.