XYXX Mosaic Identity

Sigrid Schade

XYXX Mosaic Identity, détail
The installation by the artists Maria Klonaris and Katerina Thomadaki immerses the room and those entering it into fluorescent light. The multi-media staging has its secret center in a large format photograph mounted on aluminium and hanging from the ceiling on the left wall; in the photograph a naked person is to be seen, a peculiar person – a hermaphrodite. The original comes from a medical archive, a fact which refers to the category of pathological deviation. The artists’ formulation "mosaic identity" on one side relates to that medical taking over of the androgyne, but on the other side also to an aesthetic concept. "Mosaic hermaphroditism", found in the dictionary under the term "gynandromorphism", refers to the presence of both combinations of sexual chromosomes in the body cells of one individual, which results in the development of the according sexual characteristics. A processed and modified photograph of the hermaphrodite is lying on a lightbox bed in the right corner of the room, reminding X-ray photography. 

There is an aesthetic fascination that emanates directly from the photograph of the hermaphrodite itself, which – as Klonaris and Thomadaki describe – is due to the staging of the body and its posture, to the element of the blindfolded eyes and the associations with the iconography of angel representations. 

"Mosaic Identity" thus defines an aesthetic quality which is expressed in the media multiplication of the fascinating image of the angel. 

Opposite the door, we see "mutations" of the photograph that are the result of certain technical manipulations. These include processing multiple layers of film, chemical treatment, etc. The four photographs hang in front of partially opened venetian blinds, through which the light from an invisible source surrounds the images with a lucid atmosphere lending them an unreal character. The row of photographs appears to multiply endlessly in the reflections left and right on the plexiglass against the black walls and in the mirrors against the white wall in the back. The various superimposed reflections of the installation dissolve the, at first, polarizing elements of black and white into innumerable in-between tones. 

The process of "mise en abyme" continues in three monitors placed one above the other in which visually transformed photographs of the "angel" – caressed again and again by a "magical" hand – pass by. The work also includes an audio tape with music and texts spoken in English and in French. The aesthetic concept of "Mosaic Identity" proposes the multiplication and the dissolution of polarizing structures in a pattern which results in a liberation from assumptions. 

Intersexuality thus appears as the representation of a utopian or atopian ideal, implying much more the splitting within every individual person than a possible totality. The angel becomes a positive figure of difference itself, dissolving into countless differences. 
Sigrid Schade
(Andere Körper, Sigrid Schade editor, Linz, Offenes Kulturhaus - Wien, Passagen Verlag, 1995)

All photos by Klonaris/Thomadaki unless otherwise stated

Le Cycle de l'Ange (1985-2013)
XYXX Mosaic Identity
The Angel Cycle

Photos: copyright Maria Klonaris/Katerina Thomadaki. 
Texts copyright: the writers