Olesja Katšanovskaja-Münd

The skin of interaction


In the final installation, the viewer is invited to participate in the process of leaving their own traces. Olesja has envisioned a structure made of clay held together by wood and metallic mesh, where anyone who may be interested can leave their impressions into the material. This ongoing process will continue for the exhibition’s duration, collecting marks on the social body, by which viewers can imprint their subjective expressions to be deciphered or discovered by others. 

Historically, clay has been criticized for the ease with which the artist’s hands could mold the material. Stone, marble, and bronze were prized above clay due to their lack of malleability and cost. Also, clay has been labeled ‘feminine,’ as it was obtained from the quintessential female element – earth. The “softness” of clay meant that unlike other “hard” materials, sculptors could quickly correct any mistakes or reshape the composition. [6]  

“Kneading” usually refers to the process of working through the clay, usually by hand, using body strength to develop the material, making it easier to work with and eliminating air bubbles. By participating in this installation, the viewer’s inner expressions, as a result of thinking, feeling, and reflecting, bubble up to the surface while leaving their traces behind. 

While the sculpture series in the front room results from a long-term collaborative process, which embodies the knowledge of skilled practitioners, the future marks left by the viewer are the result of immediate response – of pressing, kneading, and tapping – that embody a particular material pleasure. This experience is accessible to everyone.

[6] Staubach, Suzanne. Clay. The History and Evolution of Humankind’s Relationship with Earth’s Most Primal Element. New York: Berkley Books, 2005.