La Mystérique – from transgression to liberation
by Iskra Geshoska
“Dear friend, I don’t know if you are aware, but in the meantime I have returned to God. For me this doesn’t mean just accepting a few external precepts of the Religion which are to be blindly followed. This means refitting the soul in concert with the pain of the body, just like one refits an old shabby suit, which after you turn it upside down, you throw it in the fire, out of which, I don’t know by what miracle, you take out a new suit, which by all means will keep all the memories and traces of the old, yet will be completely different.”
Antonin Artaud, Letters from Rodez (1946)
La Mystérique (the path of Grace) represents a para-esthetic experience. The processes of contemplating, understanding, interpreting and constituting of the world, of man in the world and of man outside the world, are all articulated in the work of Hristina Ivanoska. The primary act in this complex intimate, onto-theological, as well as political and identity exploration is the para-esthetic shaping of yearning located in-between the real, the symbolic and the imaginary. Ivanoska’s work positions itself opposite theoretical dogmatism and esthetic limitations, deconstructing logocentric and meta-language systems based on fixed rational and closed autonomous esthetic presuppositions, methods, meanings and criteria. In a certain sense, it constitutes a critique of the boundaries and limitations of the esthetic, the political and the ontological. La Mystérique can be seen as a guideline on how to think the political in term of desire, of yearning and yearning in terms of the political. Along her “path of grace” trying to find her place in the processes of the discourse of love in its pure form, Ivanoska utilizes strong references to the works of Simone Weil and Luce Irigaray and their experiences of the “body” in the struggle with the world of norms. Through the nine works on paper, she creates a fibula which is at once an anti-allegory, a geographical map of historical knowledge and how to be liberated from it, of rebellion as well as of acceptance, of violation but also of recreation of memory. Before us lies a labyrinth, a diagram of love, of pain, of ecstasy and death as the ultimate outcome of the remembrance of life. Thus, we have before us an open work created to simultaneously play with the ecstatic and wild nature of yearning, of desire, but also with their economy which has become a part of the accepted social exchange in the regulated culture of the expected. We are standing in front of an open space where the dream takes place for the constant search for identity meanings, as well as their deconstruction.La Mystérique is a rhizome directed against the violence of systemic thinking and understanding of the world.
This visual-linguistic gesture by Ivanoska raises multiple questions: Is this story a story about love and death? Is it about utopias? Is it about the transgression of the expected requirements of culture? Is it about the necessity to perceive the continuity of the known before you can sense the touch of that which is unknown, yet so desired? To succeed to break out of the prison of culture without being seen. Few things are akin to death as much as the fulfillment of love is. Love and death are the two main characters of this story that neither has a plot nor an ending. This is a story which is a sublimation of that circle of life’s sound and fury which transports the body through all of its dilemmas, through the cult of its fragmentation to pain and its ascension on the ladder of peace and on the journey to the Absolute.
“We should find anew the one who speaks, who sees and thinks, re-establishing the self in an imprisoning self-sufficiency and in the clarity comprised of the shadows of self-denial,” says Irigaray in the reference text which Ivanoska takes as one of its starting points. “We search for the soul which has escaped itself, leaving an opening so it can re-enter itself again. The self is caught, trapped in the multiplicity of images and shrouds, fettered in chains and configurations which lead it thus fragmented to its unity.”
La Mystérique speaks the language of transgression. Transgression means to transgress, violate the common, normative flow of the given and expected law of culture, of the order of the community, even of the identity. In geological terms it refers to the invasion of the sea into the land. The pain and suffering invade and spread all over the body, just like the sea into the land.
However, from a phenomenological sense we use transgression to denote the thing that characterizes artistic epiphany, which means stepping beyond the pragmatic and the instrumental into the otherworldly sphere of human reception.This is a matter of ecstasy, or that of Lacan’s jouissance. Transgression marks the entry into a qualitatively different state of thinking, feeling, existing, of ahistoricity, non-narrativity, of absent presence, of present absence, of the inexpressible. That is the only way that people who are bereft of social and pragmatic life concretisation can achieve true mutual understanding and create art, create life.
Carrying out her artistic, as well as personal transgression, Ivanoska uses verbal and visual texts to construct corridors, passages, gates between the stage and the world, between the body and the language, between history, memory and the moment. The soundscape of this work is filled with cries, screams, pain, silence, mistakes. This provokes the symbolic code from within, questions the guarantees and the legitimacy of the expected. Through her wanderings on the intimate path to identity mercy, Ivanoska breaks the norms regulating freedom, whether emotional, political, gender or sex. This decision to transgress, to break the boundaries of what is considered to be culture, is a constant struggle. Ivanoska gently, yet powerfully, through the use of strong references in its visual and narrative syntax does precisely that – she creates a landscape, a new reference, illustrating the fact that struggles are not just carried out between megacultures, megareferences and laws, they are also struggles carried out on the inner path leading inside those mega-narrations. This way, Ivanoska warns us to pay attention to a paradox – breaking the rules leads to creation of new rules, a new grammar, a new language which continues from the previous given situation, but at the same time it deconstructs and recontextualises it, giving it a new and different semantics. Breaking the ban is subject to rules as much as the ban itself. The sense of the transgression is to discover new horizons, but also new boundaries of freedom. Sometimes it seems that transgression shows the greatest care for the rules. This position serves as a justification of both the narrative and esthetic creed of Ivanoska – she has an explicit interdisciplinary approach which is not reduced just to mere innocent collaging of styles, but it showcases the whole dramatic range of the struggle waged by the key identity references integrated and woven in her work along the path of her life through love, suffering and all the way to death. The ontological perspectives, which are highlighted through the selection of the texts and the personalities that shape the background of the verbal and visual text of Ivanoska, give birth to rhizomatic branching outs on a large scale. Consequently, Ivanoska establishes an esthetic and politics of decentred discursivity – in her every gesture, every sign, every reference creates a palimpsest reflection of the countless layers of identity phenomena. Anything and everything can be something else. Everything is a wondrous spider web of meanings (letters that overlap, visual symbols that are transparent, dioptrics that are endless), which is monolithic in its golden formal narration, yet with a rich range of colours in its semantics. Ivanoska creates subversion, rupture, breakdown, even it might be said that she creates an identity revolution. Her silenced scream is a scream of one who insists to bravely walk the path to knowledge of one’s individual existence, bound by fact, history, memory. The temporality of the present visuals and of the absent bodies whose narratives are inscribed with precision and immortalized in Ivanoska’s concept is conducted in binary oppositions: order and anarchy, ecstasy and resignation, simultaneous yearning for the exceptional and normalcy, transience versus idealizing eternity and permanence which have to be gifted either through mercy or the redefinition of the mercy of God. What brings peace in the turmoil which is presented by the author is the principle of mutuality, the balance of the horizontal (historical referentiality) and the vertical (semantic rhizomaticity) – the secular versus the sacral vertical. These few steps lead to the path through the circle of life, where pain, hurt, re-examining of the body and of Eros (love, life itself) can help you feel the very existence and thus justify death. Through this “script” for the entropy of sense and trauma as fiction, Ivanoska with La Mystérique introduces us to the adventure of transgressing the dimensions of the body, as well as breaking the emotional and political narratives.