Virtual Self-Portrait: The Angel Project

Boucliers. Photosculptures
    "Je est un Autre" (Arthur Rimbaud)
A magic image: a case of intersexuality. 
The original photograph comes from the archives of Dr. G. Klonaris, gynecological surgeon and obstetrician. The subject is female with a male body construction. 

She should not exist. She exists. She embodies pure difference [1]
S/he provokes a distance of mystery and an erotic sensation. From a philosophical point of view there is an inversion. This body is the inverted twin of the concept of the Hermaphrodite as synthesis of the two sexes according to the ancient Greek myth personified in Hellenistic sculpture. Here gender appears rather as an in-between and could evoke a state before or after sexual difference. This is a pre- or post- gender body. A metaphor or a prophesy reflecting the contemporary crisis in sexual difference. An abstraction generated by the collapse of differentiated gender. There is a feeling, however, of wholeness. 

"The Angel is another form of omnipotence. An omnipotence through abstraction" (Catherine Millot) [2]
The Angel. A meta – concept. On the other side of the dualistic world and of sexual differentiation. The alchemical hermaphrodite, symbol of the coincidentia oppositorum already prefigures and incorporates the angel as winged Hermes. Messenger according to Greek etymology, the angel in Christian, Judaic and Arabic theologies represents a link between the material and the imaginal world. An intermediate entity originating from the abstraction of the causal world and integrating the anthropomorphic frame of our world. A non image converting itself into an image. 

You escape all form and you contain all forms. A reality without shape, without number, without name yet. Unconceivable – except through love [3].’ 
That particular body, that clinical case, erases the border not only between the feminine and the masculine, but also between the concrete and the abstract, the imaginary and the palpable. It stands on the in-between. We named her/him ANGEL. 

In 1985 we started elaborating this unknown: the concept of the Angel mediated by an intersexual subject. We first chose to associate it with galactic landscapes. Like a magnet, this human shape attracted suspended constellations, planetary nebulae, solar eclipses, stellar clouds. Our photographic superimpositions with astronomical documents led to superimpositions of the subject with itself. The layers augmented. The frame moved from the borders of the print to the inside of the image – an image which breaks the frame. The medical photo escapes from the clinical canon. The object of scientific observation becomes the subject of a mutational process. 

Photographs, performances, installations, poetic and theoretical texts, sound pieces, radio broadcasts, artists’ books, computer graphics – the image/concept invaded our media and our materials, orienting our visual research through a variety of technologies – chemical, electronic, digital. As if mutation were its very language. 

The emblematic photograph produces its own mirrored time, just as it produces its own astral space. It produces complexity. A multi-faceted mirror. A different body or a double
A screen image, a two-in-one eidolon, a virtual self-portrait of the double author – ourselves. In this mirror process, the anonymous photographed subject participates as an active intuition. 
Projections intersect and multiply; I is an Other X The Other as I. 
Different bodies, strangers. The difference as Unheimliche. The Unheimliche as a site of the unconscious: an untamed mirror of the self. 
M.K. - K.T.
Paris, June 1994 
Andere Körper, Sigrid Schade editor, Linz, Offenes Kulturhaus - Wien, Passagen Verlag, 1995

[1], [3] Excerpts from Incendie de l’Ange by Maria Klonaris and Katerina Thomadaki, artist’s book, Paris, Editions Tierce, 1988 
[2] Catherine Millot is the author of Horsexe, Essai sur le Transsexualisme, Paris, Editions Point Hors Ligne, 1983
All photos by Klonaris/Thomadaki unless otherwise stated
Photo: Boucliers. Photosculptures

Le Cycle de l'Ange (1985-2013) homepage
The Angel Cycle

Texts and photos: copyright Maria Klonaris/Katerina Thomadaki. All rights reserved.