artist / participant
MARKO ZINK | the other self and the self-other
Our position in our world and age is defined by our body; our ideas and concepts of “the body” are usually shaped by the times we live in. Our body is our cover, the protection of our innermost self, holding together it all together, both the purely physical and the metaphysical concepts such as the soul.
In his exhibition “the other self and the self-other”, Marko Zink presents these double standards and disturbances in his two series, in a way that is more undisguised and feisty than ever. In front of a seemingly idyllic, naturalistic scenery, something happens that is only funny and amusing at first glance; for very soon, all the narration’s irony and tragedy pours to the surface.
The Video “Traktor fahren (Driving the tractor)” from the series “fred&freda” conveys the idea of a grotesque and sinister, yet familiar, rural scenery. In a prototypical wooden stable housing a green tractor, a naked male figure with a mask suddenly pops up from behind the tractor. He remains there in all his nakedness for a while. Then he climbs up onto the tractor, imitating the sounds of ignition and a motor. He clings onto the steering wheel while jumping up and down the tractor seat and mimicking a tractor ride, honking, parking, getting up from the driver’s seat, remaining in this position for a while, almost as if he expected applause or recognition, and then, finally, disappearing behind the tractor.
In his grotesque imagination, Marko Zink uses various elements of alienation: the naked body, the mask with the moustache and the hair falling into the forehead, the imitation of tractor sound, the jumping, the wobbling chest and belly. The use of the mask – similar to the title of the entire series, “fred&freda”, leaves room for various options of interpretation. Is this a story inspired by Francis Ferrell, born as Fred (Freda) Van, who appeared along various sidelines in the first half of the 20^th century, half man, half woman? Or are there two people, one female, the other male, existing in the disguise of one sole mask? Or do we ourselves put on different masks, protecting ourselves, in order to be accepted by society? Or does the mask remind us of someone who gave “us” an (optical) set of rules so that we would fit into his misanthropic system, a system he himself would have never fitted in? Letting all these elements interact, Zink refers to the ambiguousness of human existence, revealing itself only in the entity of contradictions.
The video projection “die verrückten zwei Schwestern (the crazy two sisters)” continues this game of hide and seek. The artist hides behind a transparent curtain in a timber house. Even though two people appear on every photo, it is obvious that it is in fact only one person. The artist impersonates both sisters, dressed only in a transparent light-blue trench coat made from plastic and hold-up stockings, sometimes wearing a blond wig, sometimes a maroon one. There are two screaming, blurred people; two torsos, two hands holding each other, then only the silhouette of those protagonists. Individual body parts disappear, thereby evoking scary feelings. The idea of someone being invisible or hiding behind a mask has always made people feel torn between fascination and discomfort.
We use masks in order to be someone else for a short time – because we want to or have to be. They cover up what needs to be covered up, creating a reality which in fact is none. Masks may frighten, may increase or decrease our value, may distract us from things which should not be displayed. The two series by Marko Zink clearly illustrate what Roman philosopher and writer Seneca once noted: “Nemo enim potest personam diu ferre – nobody can permanently wear a mask”.