AN INTRODUCTION BY AGATA CARDOSO
Introduction at the opening of the solo works of Agata Cardoso at SOMA Gallery in Berlin on April 10th, 2015. Exhibit curated by Bjørk Grue Lidin in representation of HYSTERIA.
I’m an immigrant—the one who steals your jobs. I live in a council flat, putting strain on the social housing stock.Confused by my perfect English, you abhor me before we even start.
I’m a crazy fucking bitch, with all the trimmings and connotations you despise and fear.
I am an ex-junkie: a crackhead on a methadone script. And I am a benefit scrounger, draining all the country’s resources.
I ask you with grace, ‘What do you do with filth like me?’
I am a case of hysteria: my hysterical body slithers and slides—contorts and provokes your sense of self. It deviates and loathes the way we suffocate each other.
Liberty. Give me liberty. I care not for your demands on my persona, nor your intrigues into my deepest secrets. I have been scattering through the dark alone for years, grabbing my guts from yet another lacerating wound.
So boring, the art world. My problem is that I don’t just go around obeying orders, nor do I feel I need to give you my soul. Personal rejection is good. It makes you holy with honour and grace. Just follow the yellow brick road with dirty, bare feet—complete with chipped nail polish and track marks.
These archetypes that I create have hardly been shown. Some people want them to go away, but my perseverance demands the legitimacy of my lived experience.
So, I meet Bjørk and I’m introduced to HYSTERIA. And this time, I actually care. I’m paying attention. I am happy and feel like I can be.
God, we live in such dire times—completely sick of watered-down, apologetic, surface-type liberal feminism that’s given the thumbs-up by the status quo because it’s safe and doesn’t hurt anybody. But it’s not real, is it? It’s plastic and depthless and they all nod and smile and behave. Pathetic.
So, I’m pretty private. Good work speaks for itself. And I don’t have a Twitter or a YouTube or any of this shit people tell you you need. I don’t do celebrity and I don’t want your pre-packaged persona and advice on my style or subject matter.
HYSTERIA is different: it’s fresh and it has courage and grace. It’s intelligent. It questions. It has depth and it’s fearless. HYSTERIA, I applaud you. It is lived rebellion.
I am now creating my own mythology and am re-connecting with myself. I am a hysteric. I often go into trance-like states. I enter a forbidden world of female-anarchic rebellion, embracing and loving each tender cut and pin prick along the way, where thought is dissent and dissent is traitorous. I am Blanche Wittman, tearing down the Salpêtrière walls for ether. And I am Medea: the echoes of children’s screams linger on after I have gone. I am a flagellant walker, walking around and around in circles. And I am your mother, your child, your whore, and your widow. I am your heroine, every addict’s opium-soaked nightmare. And I am you. I open my arms out wide to catch your pain and sorrow, and I will stroke you tenderly as you weep. I am Lilith, with a serpent-filled cunt. And I am Daphne. My roots penetrate deep, deep inside you. And if you are still here after all this, maybe, just maybe, we can talk.