Stored away under the flickering tube lights of a faculty basement, a silent crowd of replica Greco-Roman statues awaits chance visitors, while they digest their improbable biographies marked by fire, migration, fragmentation and disrepair. The plaster casts are copies of classical sculptures and represent mostly mythological figures, often fragmented or assembled from diverse originals. Their missing parts are somehow more present to us than the visible remains. Archaeological replicas reinforce human idealizations through time, turning history into a casting call of stereotypical body proportions and gestures: eroded models enter living bodies.
Cast witnesses tries to relate to these leftover replicas of a past civilization by using the plaster figures as proxies for our collective pains and desires. With tactile and textual interactions, two mediators will guide visitors along their replicated and ruined counterparts in a performative experience that blends therapy with ekphrasis.
Postural problems are described as collective traumas; bodily tensions become historical records. While standing and waiting to enter the show you may lean forward and backwards, your spine acquiring the best position to accommodate your hip joints, your head tilted to one side. Can you trace the chronicles of your life carried inside your body? Inside the basement, Athena Lemnia #137 stands resting on her right leg, the left slightly drawn back and outwards. Her left arm is raised, creating a straight line from the shoulder, while her right arm is held to her side. Her head is turned to the right and tilted slightly downwards. Dust has collected in her eye sockets.
concept Sarah van Lamsweerde | performance Michiel Reynaert, Emma Panza, Sarah van Lamsweerde | curator/producer Emma Panza | costumes Janneke Raaphorst | Plaster replica’s Didactisch Museum voor Archeologie KU Leuven | Small casts Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis, Brussel | coproductie Playground (STUK Kunstencentrum & M - Museum, Leuven) and Stichting Tre Tigri (Amsterdam) | Thanks to Faculteit Letteren, KU Leuven | With the support of Mondriaan Fund