"The Construction of Appearances" / "How Culture Represents Itself" / "The Migration of Forms"

Tramaine de Senna’s ever-evolving body of work bears witness to her intense relation with materials in a contest between subjects and their plastic forms with interests in the construction of appearances, the “migrations of forms,” material and popular culture, internalized violence, exuberance, and the ambiguous presence - “ghosts” - of histories. She has developed an iconography of vivacity with a practice that traverses a variety of fields, mainly sculpture, while employing materials such as ceramics, textiles, paper, foam, and bronze. De Senna’s calling acts as a pendulum swinging between European theory (R. Barthes, B. Groys, J. Verwoert) and the slight, dispersive fragmentation of Americana (James Baldwin, exotica for armchair safari-ers, WWII, Brutalist and Streamline Modernism architecture, and frontier idioms). She makes a visual and conceptual link, for example, between the physical manifestation of internalized violence and the formal qualities of certain hybrid plastic injection molded toys, equating both to the grotesque, monstrous, and gothic: deformed bodies indicative of tortured souls. Take for example the pop culture icon and monster Godzilla (1954) and its violent origin: its charred and scarred skin, like that of the desecrated people of Nagasaki and Hiroshima during WWII, and its radioactive flame-throwing powers amidst a scorched urban landscape, like the ignited flames and radioactive material from nuclear fallout. These cues are physical manifestations of the dehumanizing genocide of civilians from US Atomic bombs. Her forms are therefore analytical and emotive - an exercise in social dissection that inhabits a haunting formalism, heightened by tactility, bouts of scale, and a visceral use of texture and color.

“[There is an] absurd dimension [within the] objects [of] Tramaine’s work [...] I’ve become concerned with their idea and function as fetishes. This concern comes from the impression these objects are giving me, of how much charged they are; charged with a parallel existence - their parallel existence. We tend to give to fetishes only the dimension that is connected to sexuality, though besides this dimension, comes the religious one, and also what Marx described of the commercial object becoming a fetish in capitalism. Whatever the aspect may be, fetishes are objects that have become charged and connected to something and through that they give a highly absurd feeling. The same takes place to Tramaine’s objects, as they become so much charged by the connotations and the parallelisms they bear, that at the end they become stripped from everything else - even themselves. They become pure existences of the charge, in the form of appearances, facades, and fetishes.”  

-- Giorgos Kontis

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