as the veils get thinner
18 March 2023 - 15 April 2023
‘As the veils get thinner’ is a new exhibition by visual artist Natalia Ossef. The artist explores how we can experience reality in a more transparent and light way by tracing connections between the physical, mental and spiritual. Ecofeminism and the notion of the ‘divine feminine’ are important sources here.
“People feed on the energy coming out of stone, the tiny particles of earth,” writes Malidoma P. Somé in the book The Healing Wisdom of Africa. Symbolism and spirituality are starting points for Ossef to connect with the energy of natural elements and hidden objects in the earth. Her birth ground in Syria harbors a rich history that strongly appeals to the imagination. Buried in the landscape are wealth resources, objects that symbolize femininity, banished from patriarchal society.
Healing, reinstatement and connection are central in Natalia Ossef’s work. By staging her body, her relationship with nature emerges in different ways in her work. The jump from her initially two-dimensional work to an intermedial practice of photography and video as well as drawings, sculptures and installations, also involved a repositioning within the themes she addresses. The postcolonial critique of Trinh T. Minh-ha resonates in her work. So do the voices of Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva and their vision of ecofeminism, through which they argue that life in nature is sustained through cooperation, communal care and love. With the ‘divine feminine’, Ossef refers to a spiritual concept that offers an alternative to the pedestal on which men have been placed for centuries in societies and dominant religions.
Natalia Ossef (El Kamechli, 1983) lives and works in Utrecht. Recently her work was on display at Buitenplaats Doornburgh in Maarssen. In 2021, she presented the exhibition ‘Before It Stirs the Surface’ at Movement Exposed Gallery Space in Utrecht parallel to her solo exhibition ‘Reflecting Reflections’ at Centraal Museum. After graduating from HKU in 2011, Natalia Ossef exhibited regularly in Utrecht and abroad, including Amsterdam, Basel, Berlin, New York and Paris. Her work is included in public collections such as Centraal Museum, ING Art Collection (Netherlands), Eskff Collection (United States) and CCA Andratx (Spain). In 2019, Ossef earned her Honors Master of Visual Arts from the Sint Lucas School for the Arts in Antwerp.
Guest curator Marcelle Schots is active as a dance and performance critic, editor and artistic researcher in the performing and visual arts. She is the founder of Movement Exposed Gallery Space in Utrecht. Schots studied at the Utrecht School of the Arts and took a Master’s degree in Contemporary Theatre, Dance and Dramaturgy at Utrecht University.