"The subordination and dissimulation of material does not imply ignorance or disregard of material. On the contrary, it is the "mastery" of material. Materiality is hidden by being mastered. Only through a detailed understanding of the construction can it be effaced - reduced to an invisible prop."^1 

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.^2 She has developed an iconography of vivacity in her practice that traverses a variety of fields, mainly sculptural, while utilizing materials such as ceramics, textiles, paper, foam, and bronze.

Paraphrasing artist Hedwig Houben, “[...] in the end, the work is a representation of all the processes which emerge during the artistic process: the questions, doubts, and ideas,” de Senna is driven by the principle of λόγος/Logos: reason and creative order, the dynamic (and divine) process of wrestling within the plethora of potential and possibilities (chaos and confusion), to create patterns of order which manifest in form, being, and existence. 

Through the migration of forms, the construction of appearances, and how culture represents itself to reveal "the nature of the ambiguous presence"^3, 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.


1. Semper, Gottfried. Die vier Elemente der Baukunst. 1851

2. Blackwood, Michael. Philip Guston: A Life Lived. 1981

3. Verwoert, Jan. Living with Ghosts. 2007 

“[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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