Performance art meets inflated sculptures by Victorine Mueller

Swiss artist Victorine Mueller has combined the disciplines of performance, sculpture, painting and sound for the last fourteen years. Her exhibition at the Zone Contemporaine Oliver Fahrni in Bern, Switzerland, is entitled ‘Wild at Heart’, and shows the work of a PVC squid, entitled ‘Ballon Stratospherique’. Mueller’s work can be considered palpably immersive to her audience – each artwork characterised by the artist herself, encased in a seemingly weightless PVC structure, often depicting that of an animal.

 Her presentations are very much oriented around a spiritual or emotional dynamism where her presence inside the air-filled creature often emits a tangible aura – breathing animistic energy into the beast she inhabits. This unusual medium fosters a thorough and almost halcyon contemplation for her viewers, each piece created to impart abstract ideas and somewhat invisible forces.

One example of her compositions is ‘Timeline’, a performance in Lucerne from 2005, which gives clear definition for most of her work. The piece is best described by the deployment and occupancy of a monolithic transparent elephant, illuminated by natural and powered light, with the animal in the upright position for the beginning of the showing – Mueller sitting calmly cross-legged in its bowels, she manages to exude a certain spirit and alertness akin to the living beast itself.

The remainder of the exhibition sees the artist lay the sculpture on its side to display it in a completely contrasting state – sleeping, or even perished, this she manages to embody just as acutely – an elephant in a quiet, dark space, motionless, awe inspiring yet also arousing our sympathy.

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