Throughout my practice, I have focused my attention on forms that embody attitudes. These are placed in situations that breed behaviours, immaturity, types of satyrs or absurd narrations. With tools such as symbolism, language and burlesque, I create sculptural environments that propose a plurality of “characters”, which deform and transform perceptions of reality. These break from expected roles by embodying immaturity as a way to transcend the boundaries of normative representation. Both serious and humoristic, these characters constitute an uncanny family. This state of immaturity gives them aesthetic peculiarities, and as such, they are often exaggerated, in order to appear either strong, funny or even pathetic. The ethic and aesthetics that characterise immaturity befit the fascination for crafts and creative freedom that allows such a statement. Indeed, it opens the door to using diverse mediums, and it provides a behaviour of self-distance. My work is very much inspired by the novels of Gombrowizc, in which the vulnerability of bodies goes hand in hand with the strength of being immature, the latter being a great force that stimulates one’s imagination and urges for utopia. In every situation I propose, whether it is an exhibition, or a gathering context, ideals and dystopic narratives always find a place.
Every attitude I create could be an alter-ego, a self-portrait, or even a caricature of myself. Then, there is the matter of the multiplicity of the self, inspired by the notion of self-consciousness, which has lead me to inject polyphony into my pieces, so as to achieve a multiplicity of voices and selves. With “Am I snob?”, “Shut up! Actually Talk!” or the series of drawings “The dissidents”, all made in 2019, I focus on the plurality of voices. “Am I snob?”, shows a figure surrounded by a diagram which alludes to voices and ideas, as a complex web that constitute statements, while “Shut up! Actually Talk!” is a sculpture with sound that embodies statements from different artists, such as SCUM from Valerie Solanas or statements from Chiara Fumai. It plays with an absurd situation, in which unseen characters that exist only through their voice, come out of an “ear”. “The dissidents”, is a variation of voices that are translated into bodies which, rather than speak, show they “tongues”. They do so as a way to express the complexity of their bodies. The multiplication of the self, as an immature exercise to “shrink” while multiplying oneself, has numerous purposes, such as fulfilling fantasies of being able to be seen as complex individuals, as well as constantly changing and living bodies, which both “An alter manifesto” and “Embroidered breath of a bordered garden”, made in 2018, are about.
Immature attitudes share common peculiarities with the act of “making faces”. If immaturity allows oneself to transcend the boundaries of body and thought, “making faces” is a tool that shows the multitude of the self, by transforming the normal appearance of one’s face to give way to different expressions, while conveying a catharsis of feelings like joy, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, etc. Regardless if the characters or behaviours I create “make faces” with parts of their body or with facial expressions, I use it as a way to create a tension by “switching modes”, to offer space for agency and to “move beyond” the limits of representations. The characters, behaviours or attitudes present in my work are meant to drive new narrations, dismantling and parodying the fictions of binary tales.
I wish to work and collaborate with people against the delusion of Whiteness, including the one that I grew in with the previledges of being a cis white woman, in inclusivity.
Nastasia Meyrat is currently one of the resident at the Swiss Institute of Rome. She received a MA with honours from HEAD Geneva University of Art and Design in 2015. Meyrat was selected in 2018 for the Kiefer Hablitzel prize, hosting by the Swiss Art Awards. She was a resident at the Davidoff Art Initiative in 2017 and the 4th Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince (Haiti) in 2015, where she developed a cultural exchange project alongside her anthropologist sister. She was selected for the New HEADS – BNP Paribas Foundation Art Awards prize in 2015, concurrent with the group exhibition GET OUT, curated by Latifa Echakhch.