BONES OF MY BONES

“Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh”, is the first scriptural intervention exercise carried out by Wynnie Mynerva on the basis of the patriarchal epics of human creation. Fictionalized from Abrahamic traditions through the biblical stories, the creation narratives configure and structure to this day most of the subjectivities of those who inhabit conservative and precarious territories such as Lima-Peru, where the artist was born and raised. Using the compositional language of canonic paintings from the Old Western Masters, Mynerva rehearses an exercise of counter-fabulation to re-imagine the narratives of male chauvinism, sexual abuse, gender binaries and patriarchal order; subverting them through the vindication of the mythical figures of Eve and Lilith. With this exhibition, Mynerva presents an epic counter-story of Genesis in “three acts”, intervening the architecture of the gallery to confront the viewer with an immersive experience of vital re-encounter between the feminized body and the awareness of the narratives that traverse it.

The first act commences with “Violated Bliss (i, ii)”, two curved monumental paintings arranged around the first room, which portray the journey of Lilith and Eve to Hell after being expelled from Paradise for making an alliance and defying the antagonistic function originally assigned to them by God the Father. Both paintings, inspired by Rodin’s “Gates of Hell”, depict sexual landscapes that lead the viewer to a threshold that marks the way to the next room. Behind this first portal lies the second act, “In First Naked Glory,” a scene that confronts the viewer with the artist’s naked body suspended on a swing and only wearing long black hair. Mynerva resorts to her body in performance as a symbol of Eve’s long-lived offspring, in stealth and expectation of the encounter with her accomplice Lilith. A painting depicting Lilith extracting from Eve the “Adam’s rib” complements the performance, as in the artist’s back is drawn the position of one of her own ribs, reaffirming the latent desire to extract from her body that mythical symbol of patriarchal genesis. Finally, descending the stairs into the gallery basement, the viewer steps into a womblike pit, the last act of the exhibition, “Two Bodies Touch on the Same Shore (i, ii)”. In semi-darkness, these two large-format canvases hang above the red vinyl floor, stretching out to delimit the path and the sole viewpoint from which both paintings could contemplate. Each painting being conceived as Lilith and Eve respectively, were arranged by the artist as if both of them free at last, lie facing each other after their long journey.

Through the scenographic treatment of space, the monumental character of the paintings, the choreography of the exhibition’s journey and the uses of silence, Mynerva rewrites the foundational drama of Genesis to confront viewers with a total work of art.

View of the installation at Gathering London, UK.

Violated Bliss I and II, 220 × 500 cm / 220 × 500 cm,  oil on canvas.

In First Naked Glory, oil on canvas, 255 x 255 cm.

On the opening night of Bone of My Bones, Flesh of My Flesh transformed my body into a living sculpture for 3 hours.

Two bodies touch on the same shore I and II , 610 x 310 cm / 610 x 310 cm, oil on canvas.

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