Noah Becker's whitehot magazine of contemporary art
0

September 2007, Maria Magdalena, the holy whore.

September 2007, Maria Magdalena, the holy whore.
Images of Maria Magdalena, the holy whore.

The other day, I received an invitation for a private art blog called Rosa for sale. Rosa, in the colour pink, for sale? Thinking of kittens, Andy Warhol and Pierre et Gilles I logged on, curious about what I would find. But instead of a darling, sweet web page about kitsch and pop art, I found myself looking at a black and white Goth-porn photography of a young woman.

Obviously called Rosa!

And obviously for sale?

Another spam link? Not quite. Rosa is the pseudonym of a young female artist and director emerging out of the Berlin/Hamburg performance scene. A couple of weeks ago, she made herself a prostitute

Her real name? Maria Magdalena, the holy whore.

I’m familiar with names like Marina Abramovic and Tracey Emin. But does Maria Magdalena fit into the Fluxus and Happening movements, as she claims? Marina Abramovic -probably the most radical of the body artists- consistently crossed the border of taste, pain and self-respect. Maria Magdalena does certainly the same; she works with her body.

I met her. Maria Magdalena is pale with very dark hair and lavish lips. She is at most 110-pounds and has very dark bags under her eyes –very dark. One look and I’m able to tell she puts herself at risk –physical and mental. I’m dazed; this girl sells her body. Where does the art come in?

Maria Magdalena, she explains, is the name given by her father, a protestant priest. What is she suggesting; her parents made her a holy whore? Ok still, were does the art come in? As the Manifest of Body-art, by Francois Pluchent, claims -Maria Magdalena alters her consciousness by physical and mental borderline experiences. But one very important moment is still missing-- the corollary.

Fluxus and Happening Art re-formulated existential and social barriers. Maria hasn’t found that moment yet. But she is working on it. Up to now, the harvest is in form of a diary, which seems difficult to me. Reading the documentary of her “job” breaks it down to boulevard press, at best. The pain is lost. The work lacks the force, necessary to challenge your boundaries and frame of reference. I read it with the curiosity, boredom and cynical joy of someone who reads about the new escapades of Paris Hilton –distanced.

Maria Magdalena photographs herself just before and after the prostitution, creating a documentation series of her body as her material–before and after use. The pictures before going to the brothel reveal a beautiful malady. She is all done up in perfect make-up and a little black dress, almost showing her perfect small breasts. Afterwards there seems to be nothing left. The make-up has rubbed off. Her unclean skin and purple lips start to show -her sad eyes. This may seem daring, but doesn’t it really only indicate a weakness of the emotions. This initiates a thought process: Don’t we all treat our bodies like material already in the world of bulimia, anorexia, fat/sugar addiction and excessive sport? With a reality of one-night-stands and fast sex don’t we all sell ourselves at a low price? What is the difference? The borders between art and reality slip. This could be the artistic moment. Within the split second, which the photography captures on might see it all.

Meeting her is inspiring. Maria Magdalena herself is THE powerful artistic moment. The interview is the happening. I am spell bound by Maria Magdalena. I’m simultaneously attracted and horror-struck. She makes me believe that I am both a distanced observer and the mirroring image. It is uncanny. She draws her audience close and makes them watch her own rise and fall. She performs her own catharsis. Her name, her frail appearance, her family background, her determination and her weakness makes me question my faith and my conception of the personal choice. Is she a new age martyr? This is her potential; in person she has the same power as “the Bed” of Tracey Emin. Now I am awaiting the transformation process.



whitehot gallery images, click a thumbnail.
       

Susanne Jakob


Susanne Jakob is a writer in Berlin.
suja@talk21.com

view all articles from this author

Reader Comments (0)


Your comments. . .


Your First Name (not shown):
Your Last Name (not shown):
Your Email Address (not shown):
Your Username: