Fleisch auf dem Bild
Video 09:00, 2K
The film won an award from L'Age d'Ore International Arthouse Festival in the category "Film on Woman"
"Fleisch auf dem Bild" ("Meat on the Picture") was produced a month after the birth of the artist's daughter. Giving birth to the child became a moment for the artist to rethink her values and lifestyle - including her attitude towards artistic practices and artistry in general.
Mascha Naumova deconstructs certain landmarks of her life through performative practices, thereby opening herself up to an unknown future. Emotions are overwhelming; further decisions and doings become blurred as anxiety builds up. Motherhood has been treated as a final (and the most important) stage of initiation into femininity in patriarchal society for many centuries. But the experience of giving birth can be discovered only emotionally. And therefore, nature and reality have little to do with the social construction of motherhood. The artist reveals and works through the spectrum of maternal emotions which is supposed to be forbidden – or at least hidden from the public's eye. One of the biggest fears of a woman is the feeling of being used by someone who temporarily shares her own body with her. Our identity is in constant danger. It is much easier to destroy and tear it apart than to reassemble the diffused parts afterwards. Will it be torn apart by a new body that comes into being inside a woman? Is a mother’s flesh just a vessel giving juices to a child?
On a blacked-out stage the artist is butchering the meat of birds and other animals. Flesh is bright, but already dead. Mascha is cutting entrails into small pieces. Tiny shreds of flesh are turning into a mosaic depicting the face of the artist's daughter. Mosaic is one of the glorified media of the Russian school of monumental painting, Naumova's alma mater.
Traditions of Russian monumental art are based on sacral frescoes and mosaics, which were used to decorate Orthodox churches. One of the central images of Orthodox iconography is the Byzantine Acheiropoieta, the image of a Savior, also called Made Without Hands.
It is the face of Christ, miraculously manifested on the shroud and was depicted inside the main dome of many churches. When the artist takes all the meat away from the canvas, only traces of blood and ichor are left. A miraculously manifested image of the little girl. The tissue that probably served as a swaddling cloth becomes a shroud. And the image revealed belongs now to the female.